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Reshaping what counts as care: older people, work and new technologies

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2009
JournalAlter: European Journal of Disability Research / Alter: Journal Européen de Recherche sur le Handicap
Journal number2
Volume3
Number of pages21
Pages138-158
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In governmental and technical discourses, telecare systems are described as a solution to the ‘problem’ of aging populations. This paper draws on an ongoing ethnography of the implementation of telecare in one county in England and asks how the promotion and implementation of telecare shapes understandings of what care means for frail older people living at home. We suggest that telecare discourses attempt to divide care work into three distinct domains of practice: monitoring, physical care and social–emotional care. Telecare, in this logic, deals only with monitoring and leaves the other elements untouched. This tripartite division of care, we argue, both diminishes the kinds of care (potentially) offered in telecare and fails to account for the complexities of all kinds of care (physical, social-emotional and telecare). Building on work from disability studies and feminist studies, we suggest that what counts as care needs to be rethought if telecare is to make a positive contribution to the lives of older people and those who care for and about them.

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