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Accepted Paper:

Radical hope: reaching beyond dementia’s fourth age in The Netherlands  
Laura Vermeulen (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

What does it mean to live towards death with dementia when euthanasia is at the forefront of public imaginaries of dying? This paper considers different pathways towards opening up a 'between' of attuned company in which life historical narratives can be transformed into a radical kind of hope.

Paper long abstract:

As ending life through euthanasia becomes more widely accepted for people living with dementia in The Netherlands, the quest for narratives that resist the abjection associated with the fourth age in dementia becomes pressing. What does it mean to live towards death with dementia in a cultural climate that accepts as a legitimate reason to actively end one’s life a condition already considered to foreclose meaningful futures (Taylor 2017; Higgs and Gilleard 2015)? This papers draws on life history research with people with dementia to consider different pathways of transforming living towards death with dementia into something other than social death. It describes how practices of attuned company (Stevenson 2014) may open up ‘a between of the situation’ (Zigon 2021) in which potentiality flourishes. In particular, it zooms in on how such company may allow people to transform life historical narratives into tropes for a radical kind of hope; a hope for a ‘future goodness that transcends the[ir] current ability to understand what it is’ (Lear 2004).

Panel P002a
Life after death: intersubjectivity, care, and hope at the end of existence I
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -