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Redefining the identity of old age through telecare: a Foucauldian inquiry into national care policies and practices at local social care authorities

Akdur, Gizdem (2019) Redefining the identity of old age through telecare: a Foucauldian inquiry into national care policies and practices at local social care authorities. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

Since the 19th Century, UK governments have introduced policies to address the problem of old age. These rely upon and reinforce the construction of an ‘old age’ demographic, as a distinct kind of identity based on the knowledge produced about older people across different scientific disciplines. Meanwhile, advancements in medicine and technology, as well as shifts in the political and economic landscape, have had marked impacts on the provision of health and social care. Today, the care information systems technologies known as telecare – increasingly offered by local authorities in accordance with national governmental policies – have been claimed to increase ‘independence’, ‘choice’, and ‘quality of life’ for older people. This thesis makes an enquiry into policies surrounding old age and telecare and into the practices of Surrey’s local telecare initiative as a case study. It contextualises telecare within the wider history of social/health care policy in England to build the case that there are grand narratives of old age embedded in these sociotechnical practices that merit recognition - namely: 1) The biomedical model, which perceives ageing as a pathological problem associated with abnormality, deterioration, and dependency; 2) consumer culture, which perceives older people as a new group of homogenous, financially secure and powerful consumers; and 3) managerialism in social work, which perceives older people in terms of risk. This study utilises critical theory, discourse analysis, and Foucault’s Modes of Objectification to reveal these grand discourses and other discourses of old age, discuss their implications, and explain how they have been perpetuated yet also transformed in the context of telecare. Collectively, their manifestation in the scientific classifications and dividing practices enacted by governments, institutions, and telecare professionals are seen to play a role in the construction of an identity of old age, which has been redefined within the context of telecare information systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Gizdem Akdur
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Klecun, Ela
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3862

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