Accepted Paper:

What is at hand? Affective relations, precarious materiality and the troubles of not feeling at home   


Michael Schillmeier (University of Exeter)

Paper short abstract:

The paper investigates situations of dementia and what it means to feel at home or not. It draws attention to affective relations and the precarious materiality of caring relations.

Paper long abstract:

Dementia unfolds human modes of existence that cannot be described merely as the effect of biological and mental deficits. Rather, it names the social estrangement of feeling-at-home with oneself and one's environment. The experience of dementia addresses modes of social existence that challenge the taken for granted normalcy of everyday practices as well as the institutionalized forms of care that try to deal with it. Thus, with the problem set out by dementia we are at the heart of the issues this panel tries to tackle: Feeling at home (or not).

In this presentation I will show and discuss sequences of an ethnographic film about Mrs M, a woman who has been diagnosed with AD and lives in nursing home. Marion Kainz's film 'The Day that got lost in a Hand Bag' alludes to the precarious relationship between temporal and spatial relations, i.e. the complex materialities at hand that play a crucial role in caring for and with dementia. The presentation will highlight that with dementia comes the question of affectivity and affective relations that needs to be cared for when we talk about 'care' and the 'materiality of care'. The engagement with these precarious materialities of care, so my argument, asks for an ethos of situated care which requires to be most attentive to these affective relations of everyday life - made and in the making.

Panel Body02
Ways of dwelling: a phenomenological approach