The internet multiple: How internet practices are valued in later life

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Vera Gallistl
Anna Wanka


Internet practices of older adults are multifaceted and go beyond a “use” and “non-use” binary. In this article, we suggest a valuation approach towards Internet practices in later life that explores Internet practices not as “use” or “non-use,” but rather asks which forms of Internet practices are valued in later life, and which ones are de-valued. For this valuog­raphy, we draw upon different data sources, including interviews with older adults, to explore the multiple “goods” and “bads” through which Internet use in later life gets valued. The findings suggest two registers of value: autonomy and innovation. Valued Internet practices in later life are therefore done by an autonomous, older individual and include innovative technologies. We conclude that a performative, reflexive, and value-oriented understanding of Internet practices sheds light on the “Internet Multiple,” or the many different shapes the Internet takes in older people’s lives that go beyond a “use” and “non-use” binary.


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