A sociological approach to ageing, technology and health


Address for correspondence: Kelly Joyce, Department of Sociology, The College of William and Mary, Box 8795, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795, United States
e-mail: kajoyc@wm.edu


This special monograph issue builds on sociology of health and illness scholarship and expands the analytical lens to examine how old people, healthcare professionals, and technology designers create, use, and modify science and technology to negotiate and define health and illness. Far from passive consumers, elders are technogenarians, creatively utilising and adapting technological artefacts such as walking aids and medications to fit their needs. This publication adds theoretical and empirical depth to our understanding of the multiple and overlapping socio-historical contexts surrounding ageing bodies and ageing enterprises, including the biomedicalisation of ageing that includes the rise of anti-ageing or longevity medicine; and the rise of gerontechnology industries and professions -- fields that largely accept the ageing body as a given. This collection sociologically investigates how and where these two trends overlap and diverge in relation to a global context of ageing and ageism, and calls for further scholarship in this area. Combining science and technology studies and sociology of health and illness frameworks together provides an empirical basis from which to analyse technogenarians in action, as well as the stakeholders and institutions involved in the ageing, health, and technology matrix.