A Vanishing Act: The Magical Technologies of Invisibility in Care Work

Anders la Cour, Janus Hecht, Maria Kirstine Stilling

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The use of information and communication technology (ICT) has played an important role in the reforms that have taken place in Western welfare societies over the past two decades. ICT is regarded as a way to provide transparency and information exchange among providers, users and politicians. This has also been the case for healthcare services in elderly home care, where ICT has been deployed to enable information exchange, knowledge sharing and documentation of delivered services. This article explores the extent to which the popular personal digital assistant (PDA) contributes to these types of activities in the provision of elderly home care services in Copenhagen, Denmark. We argue that despite the PDA’s promising potential to provide increased transparency concerning the delivery of services, it has had the opposite effect. Rather than creating transparency, the PDA has become a tool for hiding internal contradictions in the organization of elderly home care services so that key processes have become outright invisible. This trick, the paper argues, is essentially an act of what Bourdieu calls social magic.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)77-96
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Technology
    • Transparency
    • Care
    • Skeptron

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