Criteria of implementing feeding assistance robots in disability care : a sociomaterial perspective

Niels Christian Mossfeldt Nickelsen


This article discusses the entanglement of implementing welfare technology in disability care, and draws on ethnographic observations from a pilot project involving 30 disabled citizens from three different boroughs in Denmark. The disabled citizens suffered from diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral paralysis. The article follows four care assistants and four citizens through a period of 10 months, focusing particularly on the experiences and struggle of two citizens. Against this background, the article takes up a number of conflicting values and criteria practiced by diverse interested groups: 1. employee retrenchment, 2. citizen independence and 3. workforce flexibility. The main argument is that the housing institution studied has turned into a battlefield, where professional values of authentic care meet a strong governmental discourse of modernization of the public sector. The study demonstrates that the implementation of welfare technology in disability care is highly fragile, which is predominantly due to the delicate body-technology assembly, and takes place in agony.

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JCSW was founded in 2006 and is currently hosted by University of Stavanger, in cooperation with University of Agder and Nord University. From 2010 onwards it is published bi-anually.

ISSN: 0809-9936