Cardiff University School of Social Sciences
Dwelling with dementia: body-world relations, participation and care
In this paper I address issues around how we can dwell with dementia. Exploring new neuroscientific theories of dementia together with philosophical explorations of the existential affects of dementia care as recorded by Letiche (2008) and Schillmeier
(2008/2014), I offer a theoretical approach that illuminates dementia not just as something that an individual has, but as an emergent property of body-world relations. I go on to offer for discussion a possible way out of simply treating people with dementia as subjects and as in deficit. This approach involves a way of reimagining dementia care as a site of dwelling, for all concerned (family, practitioners, patients), but that the specific affects of dementia reduce the competencies of both those with and without dementia to be response-able (Latimer 1999) in each others’ realities. Drawing on creative representations of dementia, including the film Iris, I suggest a way forward which allows dementia to affect, and move, how people make worlds together, including possibilities for ‘becoming with’ (Haraway 2009) as well as for ‘being alongside (Latimer 2013) dementia.