Criteria of implementing feeding assistance robots in disability care

a sociomaterial perspective


  • Niels Christian Mossfeldt Nickelsen



welfare technology, feeding assistance robots, disability care, sociomaterial, science and technology studies, criteria, values


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.

Author Biography

Niels Christian Mossfeldt Nickelsen

Associate professor
Department of Education, Aarhus University


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How to Cite

Nickelsen, N. C. M. (2013). Criteria of implementing feeding assistance robots in disability care: a sociomaterial perspective. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 8(2), 169–197.