Non Users in the Information Society. Learning from the older generation
Sourbati, M. (2010) Non Users in the Information Society. Learning from the older generation In: Gebhardt, J, Greif, H, Raycheva, L, Lobet-Maris, C and Lasen, A, eds. Experiencing the Broadband Society. Peter Lang, Berlin, pp. 107-118. ISBN 978-3-631-58406-4 hardback
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Taking as its point of departure an examination of the representation and positioning of older people in Europe’s Information Society (IS) policy discourses this chapter offers a critical perspective on the conceptualisation of the so-called ‘non-users’ of new media and information and communication technologies (ICTs). Older people’s relationship with new media technologies is commonly framed in terms of age-based understandings, static and binary notions of media access and individualistic perspectives on media non-use(rs). Thus older adults are understood to be unable to obtain the literacies required to access and use new media technologies and services mainly because of their age. This kind of prevalent conceptualisations can be seen to define non-users as a homogenous group of isolated individuals, media use as a solitary activity and the nature and benefits of media access as a matter of absolutes. This chapter considers how such understandings may limit policy formation and analysis, and their consequences with regard to the further exclusion of disadvantaged groups who do not use today’s new ICTs. Drawing on broadly interactionist perspectives it proposes that (non-)users are better understood as interacting individuals, who relate with the media in varied ways, including through forms of engagement that are mediated by other people. Keywords: ICT access, media (non-)use, media literacy, age, public policy
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