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Online @ home in retirement : Situating computer and internet use within bodies, spaces and biographies

Buse, Christina Eira (2009) Online @ home in retirement : Situating computer and internet use within bodies, spaces and biographies. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines how retirees make use of the Internet and computer technologies at home, as well examining the relation of these newer technologies to older Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in this sphere. It begins by reviewing previous research on older adults and Internet use, and highlighting gaps in this literature, including a lack of research on Internet use in everyday contexts, particularly the home, and a failure to situate experiences of Internet use in later life within experiences throughout the lifecourse. The importance of contextualising Internet use within `real' bodies and spaces is emphasised. Secondary data analysis was then used to examine wider patterns of Internet use among older people, and the relation Internet use in later life to living situation, lifestyle and demographic variables. Following this, the main methodology of the study involved gathering data using multiple qualitative interviews and time-use diaries, which were conducted with retirees in 17 UK households. The central argument drawn from this data is that computer and Internet use in later life need to be contextualised within the `embodied technobiographies' of individuals and cohorts. This contributes a unique perspective to discussions of age divisions, illustrating that they cannot simply be understood as the result of material and physiological changes in `old age', but as the outcome of struggles applying embodied technological competencies acquired over a lifetime to new technologies. It also has practical implications for policy makers, and illustrates the importance of practical methods of learning computing, and the importance of relating new technologies to earlier competencies and biographical interests. These findings, and the novel concept of `embodied technobiographies' developed in this thesis, also have broader implications for developing sociological theories of embodiment, technology, gender, ageing, generations and social change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Sociology (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.516612
Depositing User: EThOS Import (York)
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2016 17:34
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2016 17:34
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14140

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