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  • ICT, Senior End-users and Alienation

    Mike Healy

    Chapter from the book: Healy, M. 2020. Marx and Digital Machines: Alienation, Technology, Capitalism.


    This penultimate chapter investigates the relationship between mature end-users and ICT. Although Marx referred to the pervasive nature of alienation and its influence in non-work environments, he did not develop this aspect of alienation and therefore his theory is often, mistakenly in the author’s view, considered as being applicable only to work. This chapter therefore considers the diverse impact the alienated relation between capital and labour might have outside work related to peoples’ attitudes and experiences of technology and what strategies or coping mechanisms could be used to confront alienation and how effective they might be. It undertakes this by drawing upon data collected during sessions with a group of end-user pensioners based in South London, UK. The sessions revealed shared alienated attitudes towards technology, negative consequences over a lack of control of it and the context within which it was used, but they also showed the benefits of addressing problems collectively and the intangible social and individual benefits of collaboratively determining learning and work processes. The evidence of the group and the subsequent analysis demonstrate that while it is possible to engage in activity that can confront alienation in a specific and concrete context, there are more fundamental problems concerning the nature of ICT that cannot be resolved by these engagements alone.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Healy, M. 2020. ICT, Senior End-users and Alienation. In: Healy, M, Marx and Digital Machines. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book47.g

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Oct. 16, 2020