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Socio-technological imaginaries, assistive robotics and transformation of care

Thu, August 30, 11:00am to 12:30pm, ICC, E3.5


In the media and at political/managerial levels there is currently focus on the opportunities for Denmark to re-perform itself through digitization and welfare technology. Feeding assistive robotics (FAR) is one prioritized form of welfare technology, relevant to citizens with low or no function in their arms. Yet, despite various highly profiled national dissemination strategies, it proves difficult to recruit suitable citizens. This paper discusses technology developers’ and governmental agencies’ socio-technological imaginaries concerning assistive robotics. We argue that imaginaries intertwine with various stakeholders’ organizing of their worlds with FAR and discuss the tinkering, experimentation and attuned attentiveness that is inevitably part of implementing assistive robotics in care work. The ANT idea of “follow the actor” inspired the study that took place as a multi-sited case study at different locations in Denmark and Sweden. As such, based on desk research, observation of meals and interviews the study examines socio-technological imaginaries and their implications for users and care providers. Human - FAR interaction demands thorough engagement, tinkering and understanding of the particular situation of the user. This study contributes to STS and socio-technical imaginaries by providing an empirical example of analysis from the middle of things in a manner where political imaginaries, the technology developers’ assumptions concerning usability, and users and care providers hassles are in focus.