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Older People, Mobile Communication and Risks

Author

Listed:
  • Loredana Ivan

    () (Communication Department, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest 012104, Romania)

  • Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol

    () (Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3); Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona 08018, Spain)

Abstract

Starting from Beck’s concept of reflexivity, the paper investigates differences in risk perception regarding wireless technologies expressed by older people living in Romania and Catalonia (Spain). We combine evidence from conversations held with older individuals in different research projects together with an ad-hoc media content analysis. Our research reveals that seniors’ discourses were consistent with the media prominence of different types of risks in each country. Results show that seniors’ discourses on health risks relate to the way the media discussed them, with Romanian participants, in contrast to older people from Catalonia, expressing no concerns about electromagnetic radiation. Also, Romanian seniors were more concerned about the risk to others—younger family members—whereas seniors in Catalonia were more concerned about their own risks. Seniors from Romania made more references to the country’s development. We discuss aging futures in societies with different risk perceptions. As the media presents the risks associated with digital technologies in differing lights, people’s perceptions are formed accordingly. Also, in countries where technology is perceived as good per se , the techno-optimistic discourse would be reinforced not only by the media but also by the groups exposed to the highest social pressure towards technology adoption—for example, seniors.

Suggested Citation

  • Loredana Ivan & Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol, 2017. "Older People, Mobile Communication and Risks," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-16, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:7:y:2017:i:2:p:7-:d:95863
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ortwin Renn & Christina Benighaus, 2013. "Perception of technological risk: insights from research and lessons for risk communication and management," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3-4), pages 293-313, April.
    2. Marie-Eve Cousin & Michael Siegrist, 2010. "Risk perception of mobile communication: a mental models approach," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 599-620, July.
    3. Josep Espluga, 2005. "Precautionary local politics and coping with risks of radiofrequency fields in Spain," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(1/2), pages 68-77.
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    5. Julie Barnett & Lada Timotijevic & Marco Vassallo & Richard Shepherd, 2008. "Precautionary advice about mobile phones: public understandings and intended responses," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 525-540, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    risk perception; older people; technology risks; wireless technologies risks; mobile communication risks;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • P - Economic Systems
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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