In this paper, we examine the figure of the elderly prosumers as they are located in the emerging platform societies of India and Italy. Recently, sociological literature has observed the growing significance given to the elderly as active consumers in consumer society. In contrast, at present we do not know much about the practices of the elderly as prosumers, particularly in urban areas. While discussions of the sharing economy envision a particular type of collaborative consumption, they are still working with the assumption that the fundamental unit is an individual with dedicated and autonomous access to platforms and devices. This assumption, however, is in stark contrast to the multiple empirical incidences where technology is used in a shared manner. Such shared use has been extensively documented in non-Western contexts, although the gerontological literature also indicates that similar practices (such as “proxy use”) have also been documented in Western countries. Shared use may be especially pertinent to older users who rely on it to either learn anew or to navigate technology due to their health or cultural preferences. Consequently, this paper proposes the concept of collaborative use to understand the varied manner in which devices and platforms are shared in platform economies. The paper draws on ethnographic data to understand how the elderly use platforms in one non-Western city (Kolkata, India) and one Western city (Bologna, Italy). The survey and the data are also part of the broader project Evolution of consumer behaviour.

The elderly collaborative user in platform societies. A comparative study between India and Italy

Piergiorgio Degli Esposti;
2021

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the figure of the elderly prosumers as they are located in the emerging platform societies of India and Italy. Recently, sociological literature has observed the growing significance given to the elderly as active consumers in consumer society. In contrast, at present we do not know much about the practices of the elderly as prosumers, particularly in urban areas. While discussions of the sharing economy envision a particular type of collaborative consumption, they are still working with the assumption that the fundamental unit is an individual with dedicated and autonomous access to platforms and devices. This assumption, however, is in stark contrast to the multiple empirical incidences where technology is used in a shared manner. Such shared use has been extensively documented in non-Western contexts, although the gerontological literature also indicates that similar practices (such as “proxy use”) have also been documented in Western countries. Shared use may be especially pertinent to older users who rely on it to either learn anew or to navigate technology due to their health or cultural preferences. Consequently, this paper proposes the concept of collaborative use to understand the varied manner in which devices and platforms are shared in platform economies. The paper draws on ethnographic data to understand how the elderly use platforms in one non-Western city (Kolkata, India) and one Western city (Bologna, Italy). The survey and the data are also part of the broader project Evolution of consumer behaviour.
OCULA
Jillet Sarah Sam, Piergiorgio Degli Esposti, Brian Gomes,
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/828806
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