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How the Responsibility of Digital Support for Older People is Allocated? The Swedish Welfare System at the Crossroads
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Successful Ageing Program)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8391-5606
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7291-2875
2022 (English)In: Research on Ageing and Social Policy, ISSN 2014-6728, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 48-76Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A great welfare challenge today is to promote opportunities for greater digitalization, while limiting social inequalities from digital divides, especially for older people. While the digital divide is a dynamic problem, shifting from physical access to skills and usage, public policies to close the divide do not necessarily follow. This study explores who is providing digital support in Sweden by looking at three institutions: (1) the municipal eldercare system, (2) popular education institutions, and (3) the family. The results show that the Swedish policy relies heavily on popular education and family arrangements, leaving many young-old Swedes in need of digital support without public support, while the opposite occurs for very old Swedes who are mostly consumers of welfare technologies. Issues of dependency or the other way around arise. Given this, the role of the Swedish welfare state, which sets the tone of the Swedish welfare regime,needs to be re-evaluated, especially in light of the demographic challenge (a growing number of older people).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hipatia Press , 2022. Vol. 10, no 1, p. 48-76
Keywords [en]
ageing, digital divide, digital inclusion, welfare regime
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-96887DOI: 10.17583/rasp.8883ISI: 000752470100002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-96887DiVA, id: diva2:1633461
Available from: 2022-01-31 Created: 2022-01-31 Last updated: 2022-12-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. "Please Mind the Grey Digital Divide": An Analysis of Digital Public Policies in Light of the Welfare State (Sweden and Greece)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Please Mind the Grey Digital Divide": An Analysis of Digital Public Policies in Light of the Welfare State (Sweden and Greece)
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the grey digital divide and digital policies in the divergent welfare regimes of Sweden and Greece. The grey digital divide is a serious problem not only for the individual but also for society. The grey digital divide signifies the inability of older people to utilize digital technology. In academic circles, the emphasis is mostly on the technological aspects of the grey digital divide or on the individual characteristics of older people as (non)users of digital tools. However, the problem is more complex in nature and is interconnected with the aging process and experience. 

The grey digital divide has multiple levels: the first concerns access, the second skills, and the third opportunities. This thesis concentrates mostly on the third level of digital divide because it touches on the welfare denominator. This particular level describes the encounters that older citizens need to have with the digital welfare state and the obstacles that they might face in doing this. Older digital “offliners” cannot take advantage of the welfare services that they need for their own well-being and cannot participate as equal citizens in digital space, which is expanding on a daily basis with new digital services.

This thesis is situated in the discipline of political science and draws on various disciplines, such as political science (welfare regime theory, neo-institutionalism, and path-dependency), public policy (active aging paradigm), gerontology (disengagement), sociology (exclusion via the digital-by-default approach), and ICT studies (the phenomenon of digitalization and the third-level of the digital divide). The thesis is a compilation of papers and consists of two qualitative case studies, a comparative study, and a scoping literature review. The key findings are as follows: 1) older people are a heterogeneous group and this applies in the digital world as well, with the appearance of heterogeneous digital profiles; 2) the welfare regime seems to affect the manifestation of the grey digital divide and there is a path-dependency pattern in this; 3) the more digitalized a society, the greater the chance that older people not using technology will be excluded from the digital and social spheres; and 4) digital policies indicate the priorities of every society and how older people are perceived as a social group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2022. p. 126
Series
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 46
Keywords
grey digital divide, welfare regimes, digital public policies, digital technologies, older people
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-102757 (URN)9789175294810 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-01-20, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Fel ISSN-nr är angivet i den tryckta versionen av avhandlingen, 1651-1328.

Available from: 2022-12-16 Created: 2022-12-16 Last updated: 2023-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Alexopoulou, SofiaÅström, Joachim

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