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Free Content Responses to vulnerability: care ethics and the technologisation of eldercare

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This article argues for a re-conceptualisation of care relations and uses the re-conceptualisation to scrutinise the way in which technology is adopted in eldercare practices. First, it draws on the definition of care as attentiveness to vulnerability, as used in the tradition of care ethics. Second, it specifies four essential aspects of care relations: relationality, dyadic mutuality, corporeality and devotion. Third, using socio-technical and phenomenological perspectives, care relations are contrasted with the idea of intertwining technological and human actors in care practices. Finally, using two adaptations of telecare as examples, the essential aspects of care relations are shown to be crucial for a thorough socio-technical understanding of eldercare and technology.
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Keywords: Social Studies of Science and Technology; care ethics; eldercare technologisation; phenomenology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Publication date: May 2020

This article was made available online on March 26, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Responses to vulnerability: care ethics and the technologisation of eldercare".

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Care and Caring (IJCC) is a new multidisciplinary journal designed to advance scholarship and debate in the important and expanding field of care and caring. Multidisciplinary and international in scope, it publishes high quality contributions on care, caring and carers from all regions of the world. IJCC has a broad focus, covering care and caring for people of any age who have long-term conditions, disabilities or frailties, or who are seriously ill or near the end of life. It explores the economic, organisational, political, social, legal, familial, transnational and ethical settings in which this care occurs.

    IJCC is concerned with care provided as paid work and as support for family members, friends or neighbours; with care in home, community and residential settings; and with formal and informal care relations, organisation, systems and markets. It focuses on 'receiving' and 'giving' care and on the gendered nature and social, political, legal and economic status and circumstances of care and caring. It debates the support needed in localities, workplaces and health systems to make care and caring feasible and rewarding for carers and dignified and supportive of independence for care recipients. IJCC welcomes contributions on caring relationships, the ethics and political economy of care, care as a focus of moral philosophy and feminist analysis and care and caring as sources of claims-making and challenge and as the spur for national and global social movements.

    The journal encourages critical engagement with policy and practice developments and aims to include contributions from different areas of the world in each edition. Its regular Debates and Issues section features dialogue with carers’ organisations, policymakers, trade unions, employers and academics, to encourage global dialogue and international sharing of ideas, expertise and experience.

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