TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION AND IMAGES OF HEALTH AND AGING BackgroundDemographic aging is among the most striking societal changes advanced societies facetoday. It is clear that aging poses social care and public health systems with severechallenges, but also that aging market places ask for changes in current practices oftechnology and innovation. Older adults will become an increasingly important consumergroup for a number of everyday technologies and consumer electronics. New solutionsare sought to tackle the problems in health and social care systems, thus evoking imagesof more sustainable health systems including innovation in pharmaceuticals and medicaltechnologies. And finally, with, for instance, e-government becoming more relevant, theproblems that many older adults experience with new technologies are likely to translateinto more fundamental problems of societal and political participation thus exacerbatingthe so-called ‘digital divide’.
In short, it is about time to address the relationship between technology, innovationand aging on a broad basis. This track investigates this relationship with an emphasison images of health and aging. Such images differ widely, ranging from those highlyassociated with physical decline, alienation and illness to those connoted with financialwealth and increasing longevity. The track will explore existing images of health andaging, their creation and construction, and especially their entanglement with practicesof technology development across health and non-health sectors. TopicsWe welcome contributions that look at demographic aging, healthcare and innovationwith a focus on user-producer interactions or, more generally, usership. How do variouspractitioners of technology make sense out of health and aging when addressing theaging marketplace, and how do the images thus created influence the publicunderstanding of what aging is and how it can and should be moulded? What images ofaging can we find in current practices of technology development? What are the sourcesof knowledge innovators turn to in order to create and construct images of aging invarious sectors? What are the paths of knowledge about health and aging into newtechnology? How is the performativity of technologically embedded images of health andaging realised?
Contributions may stem from, but are not limited to the following empirical subjects:
New social and biomedical formulations of aging, especially as being
created and re-produced in sociomaterial relations-
Images of aging in consumer electronics, ICTs and mobile technologies
User-producer interactions and usership in ambient assisted living
Stakeholder engagement in emerging diagnostics for ‘aging’ diseases, such
as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Images of healthy aging and the role of lifestyle drugs (e.g. Viagra,
(Images of) sustainable healthcare systems, including innovation in drugs
Technology-related ageism, the digital divide and social/political
Choreographies of technology and the images and realities of ‘successful
Health and aging constructs in technology regulation
Converging medical technologies and health/aging
Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be sent by email (following websiteinstructions) by 2010 March 15th. Convenors Alexander Peine is an Assistant Professor at the Innovation Studies Group of Utrecht University. His research focuses on the role of users and use as a source of new technology practices and here on innovation in aging societies in particular (www.geo.uu.nl/staff/peine).
Dr Alex Faulkner is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Biomedicine & Society, Kings College London. He has just published 'Medical Technology into Healthcare and Society' (2009) on governance of medical devices (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ schools/sspp/interdisciplinary/cbas/staff/acad/af.html). Birgit Jaeger is professor at the Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University. Recently she managed a research project concerning senior citizens’ use of ICT presented in 'Young Technologies in Old Hands' (DJØF Publishing, 2005) and Science Ellen Moors is associate professor of innovations in life sciences at the Innovation Studies Group, Utrecht University. Her research focuses on innovation processes in life sciences, on technology dynamics and interaction processes, both from a firm’s and a user-producer perspective (www.geo.uu.nl/staff/moors).
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