Shifting dementia discourses from deficit to active citizenship

Birt, Linda, Poland, Fiona ORCID:, Csipke, Emese and Charlesworth, Georgina (2017) Shifting dementia discourses from deficit to active citizenship. Sociology of Health & Illness, 39 (2). 199–211. ISSN 0141-9889

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Within Western cultures, portrayals of dementia as ‘a living death’ are being challenged by people living with the diagnosis. Yet dementia remains one of the most feared conditions. The sociological lens of citizenship provides a conceptual framework for reviewing the role of society and culture in repositioning dementia away from deficit to a discourse of agency and interdependence. Awareness of cognitive change, and engaging with the diagnostic process, moves people into a transitional, or ‘liminal’ state of uncertainty. They are no longer able to return to their previous status, but may resist the unwanted status of ‘person with dementia’. Drawing on qualitative studies on social participation by people with dementia, we suggest that whether people are able to move beyond the liminal phase depends on acceptance of the diagnosis, social capital, personal and cultural beliefs, the responses of others and comorbidities. Some people publicly embrace a new identity whereas others withdraw, or are withdrawn, from society to live in the shadow of the fourth age. We suggest narratives of deficit fail to reflect the agency people with dementia can enact to shape their social worlds in ways which enable them to establish post-liminal citizen roles.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dementia,citizen,agency,liminality
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2017 02:04
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 01:53
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12530

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