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Ageing and Information and Communication Technologies


Wed 26. 8.  14:00 - 15:30
room FA 203

Media and the Life Course: Usage and Evaluation of Information and Communication Technologies by Older Women in Austria


Ratzenböck, Barbara
University of Graz, Austria

How do older women (in Austria) use and evaluate information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as TV, radio, telephone, computers or the internet? And which processes and strategies are relevant in this context? These questions are being addressed in a current empirical study conducted within the frameworks of an interdisciplinary research project at the Center for Inter-American Studies of the University of Graz, Austria supported by funds of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Anniversary Fund, project number: 15849). This paper presents first results of the empirical study based on the analysis of life graphs, semi-structured interviews, and “walking interviews” conducted with women aged 60 to 70 years in the Austrian province of Styria on their usage and evaluation of ICTs. The study specifically explores the everyday meaning and usage of these technologies by older women and thus highlights the interrelatedness of media practices and other social contextualities, such as family structures or professional experiences prior to retirement. In doing so, experiences with ICTs are conceptualized as influenced by _both_ generational experiences as well as by more personal biographical experiences relating to something we might call “personal identity” (Müller 2011).