The Digital Competences and Agency of Older People Living in Rural Villages in Finnish Lapland
Keywords:older people’s digital competence, agency, media agency, media literacy
Older people’s digital competencies are a means to minimise their possible risks for being excluded from society. Therefore, the research in this field needs to be strengthened. This paper examines the digital competences and agency of older people who live in remote rural villages in Finnish Lapland. We argue that older people’s agency is the key factor that keeps them included in contemporary society. Hence, our theoretical viewpoint rests on the theory of the modalities of agency. Our data consist of three focus group interviews that were conducted in small, remote villages during the spring of 2015. We analysed our data deductively, and the results showed that elderly villagers interpret their digital competencies through their personal needs and desires. History, the present and the future are intertwined in the villagers’ conceptions. Our respondents’ digital competencies are diverse; older people living in villages are not a homogenous group. Based on our results, we argue that digital competence is very much a distributed competence of elderly dyads, families with three generations and informal networks of villagers and that it should not, therefore, be assessed solely as an individual characteristic.
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