Staff – University of Copenhagen

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Maja Klausen

Maja Klausen


My postdoc project examines how elderly disenfranchised people (65+) in their everyday lives deal with and experience the mediatization of the Danish public sector. Statistics show that 12% of the 56-74 year-old have never used the Internet. For the elderly above 75 the percentage rises to 41%. In 2011 the Danish government agreed on an eGovernment strategy implying that 80% of the communication between citizen and public authorities should be digital by 2015.We are thus witnessing a situation, where a larger group of elderly have been forced to find ways through which their lacking IT-skills do not prevent them from communicating with the public sector. One possible way of dealing with this for the elderly is simply to ask for help: The elderly turn to relatives or acquaintances with better IT-skills than themselves, asking for assistance when having to communicate online with public authorities. This, however, places the elderly in a situation where his/her private documents regarding finances and health are accessed by a third party, which moreover renders the elderly person's practice of citizenship dependent on assisting others or "warm experts" (Bakardjieva, 2005). The projekt examines this type of citizenship as "precarious citizenship". I the investigation of potential transformations in especially elderly disenfrachised people's self-image and experience of citizenship the project poses following questions: 

How does the elderly person (65+) deal with and experience the mandatory digital communication with the public sector? How is the elderly’s self-image affected by this? Does it affect the elderly persons experience of being a citizen, and if so; in which ways? And finally; how is the relationship between the elderly person and the person assisting with the digital communication, affected?

The project’s theoretical frame combines cultural gerontology (Twigg & Martin 2015; Gilleard & Higgs 2015, 2006; Gulette 1997, 2013) with critical mediatization theory (Jansson 2015; Hepp 2012) and cirtical cultural theories (Berlant, 2011; Butler 2006, 2016; Isin & Nielsen 2008). This combination allows for a nuanced approach to aspects tied to old age and ageing in relation to possible transofrmations of citizenship in mediatized society. 

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