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and where should I be, and how and where should I live?’ These questions,
which individuals ask themselves throughout their lives, are among the
central themes of this book, which presents an anthropological account of the everyday experiences of age and ageing in an inner-city neighbourhood in Milan, and in
places and spaces beyond.
Ageing with Smartphones in Urban
Italy explores ageing and digital technologies amidst a backdrop
of rapid global technological innovation, including mHealth (mobile health)
and smart cities, and a number of wider socio-economic and technological transformations
that have brought about significant changes in how people live, work and
retire, and how they communicate and care for each other.
Based on 16 months of urban digital ethnographic research in Milan, the smartphone is shown to be a
‘constant companion’ in, of and for contemporary life. It accompanies people
throughout the day and night, and through individual and collective
experiences of movement, change and rupture. Smartphone practices tap into
and reflect the moral anxieties of the present moment, while posing questions
related to life values and purpose, identities and belonging, privacy and
Through her extensive investigation,
Shireen Walton argues that ageing with smartphones in this contemporary urban
Italian context is about living with ambiguity, change and contradiction, as
well as developing curiosities about a changing world, our changing selves, and
changing relationships with and to others. Ageing with smartphones is about
figuring out how best to live together, differently.