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The two facets of electronic care surveillance: An exploration of the views of older people who live with monitoring devices
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business.
2008 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 67, no 1, 128-136 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Scholars are increasingly questioning the notion that electronic surveillance merely constrains individuals' liberty and privacy. However, illustrations of alternative perspectives are few and there is a need for empirical research exploring the actual experience of surveilled subjects. This study, carried out in Sweden, seeks to offer a nuanced account of how senior citizens experience electronic care surveillance in relation to their privacy. It is based on in-depth interviews with 17 seniors who have participated in a telemonitoring project and who have experience of being continuously activity monitored in their own homes. The findings suggest that senior citizens can perceive electronic care surveillance as freeing and as protecting their privacy, as it enables them to continue living in their own home rather than moving to a nursing home. One individual, however, experienced a privacy violation and the surveillance service was interrupted at her request. This illustrates the importance of built-in possibilities for subjects to exit such services. In general, the study highlights that e-surveillance can be not only constraining but also enabling. Hence, it supports the view of the dual nature of surveillance. The study also illustrates the agency of the surveilled subject, extending the argument that various agents actually participate in the construction of surveillance practices. It analyzes the indirect role and responsibility of the surveilled subject, and thereby questions the traditional roles ascribed to the agents and targets of surveillance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 67, no 1, 128-136 p.
Keyword [en]
Sweden; Telehealth; Technology; Surveillance; Privacy; Elderly care
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24828DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.03.005ISI: 000257346300017OAI: diva2:198389
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7487Available from: 2008-05-06 Created: 2008-05-06 Last updated: 2011-02-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Technology as an extension of the human body: Exploring the potential role of technology in an elderly home care setting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technology as an extension of the human body: Exploring the potential role of technology in an elderly home care setting
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis explores the potential role and implications of technology in elderly care from the users’ perspective. This exploration is undertaken in terms of five empirical studies of a telehealth project and a meta-analysis of their contributions. An important insight emerging from this work is the need to rethink the human subject as a body, rather than as a mere mind using technology. The thesis draws on phenomenology to reconceptualize the user of technology, and on this basis, to theorize about the potential role and implications of technology in care. It concludes that, in combination with humans that integrate technology with their other sensory and emotional capacities, technology can produce affect. The findings indicate that technology can contribute to senior citizens feeling safe, cared for and thereby less isolated. The findings further demonstrate that, because of the perceptual capacity gained from technology, the care workers become aware of new health problems that urgently call for their sensory and emotional responsiveness.

On this ground, the thesis challenges the determinist view that technology threatens the essentially ‘human’ aspect; rather, it concludes that feeling and other bodily resources are fundamental in the use of technology. Indeed, technology activates such ‘human’ capabilities.

Hence, technology plays a role as a complement for rather than as a replacement of care workers. It increases their work burden by informing them about new needs. This may improve care quality but at an increased cost, which is relevant from a practical perspective. At a more general level, the thesis challenges the dualist legacies in mainstream management research that have sought to divorce mind form body, nature from culture and reason from emotion. It can therefore contribute to broader theoretical developments and fuel existing debates beyond the care setting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Företagsekonomiska institutionen, 2008. 190 p.
care, telehealth, information technology, physicality, materiality, Merleau-Ponty, body, emotion, routines, variability, surveillance, privacy, service evaluation, service innovation, emergence, learning
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7487 (URN)978-91-7155-626-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-06-16, Philipssalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2008-05-06 Created: 2008-05-06Bibliographically approved

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