Daniel López is Tenured Assistant Professor at Department of Psychology and Education at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya working on aging, technology and innovation. Hismain research interests are the biopolitical and technoscientific construction of later life,the production and maintenance of mundane care arrangements and the rise of quantified-self subjectivites. Most of his publications are available at: http://uoc.academia.edu/DanielLopez
Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy and technological innovation in later life.
Drawing on ethnographic observations and conversations with older people and people with disabilities concerning the arrangements they need to conduct themselves, this contribution intends to challenge both the understanding of independence and vulnerability that goes along with the constant invention of solutions for independent living. By looking at the process of implementation of these new solutions in real contexts we have realised, that most of the times these solutions collide or interfere with previously produced mundane arrangements. Some examples are: leaving the curtains open or closed to let the neighbours know if you feel ok, phoning a relative or friend everyday at the same hour, re-configuring the uses of the home space to reduce unnecessary efforts, or simply doing the errands following a stable pattern. The creation, attunement, and maintenance of these mundane arrangements underpin the user’s independence. This fact is usually disregarded because it challenges the very idea of innovation as the production of solutions as commodities and it would put the vulnerabilities generated by the innovation process under the spotlight. In contrast, putting in the very centre these mundane arrangements enables us to approach independent living solutions in a much more modest way: as a matter of care instead of production/consumption and as a strategy to turn frailty and vulnerability into a matter of political concern.