Affective and performative subjectivity at breakfast
(University of Manchester)
Paper short abstract:
This study does not aim to identify body sensations, movements and affects of people living with dementia as pathological, nor does it seek 'meaning' per se. Instead, it shows the ways in which people living with dementia engages with their immediate surroundings within the illness capacities.
Paper long abstract:
This article challenges the prevailing perceptions of living with dementia in an institutional setting, which are often described as repetitive, routinised, and placeless, with no meaningful social interaction and communication, but only scheduled daily (care) practice. Based on a decade of voluntary work and a year's intensive fieldwork in a Jewish care home in London, I attempt to unravel my attentive engagement with people living with dementia by tracing their trajectories from their room to the dining room and taking their morning meal. I focus in particular on their body movements, sensations, and affects. The ethnographic findings reveal that, although in a minute and often fragmentary manner, they continuously shapes and re(un)shapes their relations with the lives of other people, things, and places through her affective performativity within their illness capacities.
Skills of feeling with the world: affective imagination, embodied memories and materiality in the emergence of sociality