In this Book

Cultural responses to most illnesses differ; dementia is no exception. These responses, together with a society's attitudes toward its elderly population, affect the frequency of dementia-related diagnoses and the nature of treatment.

    Bringing together essays by nineteen respected scholars, this unique volume approaches the subject from a variety of angles, exploring the historical, psychological, and philosophical implications of dementia. Based on solid ethnographic fieldwork, the essays employ a cross-cultural perspective and focus on questions of age, mind, voice, self, loss, temporality, memory, and affect.

    Taken together, the essays make four important and interrelated contributions to our understanding of the mental status of the elderly.  First, cross-cultural data show the extent to which the aging process, while biologically influenced, is also very much culturally constructed. Second, detailed ethnographic reports raise questions about the behavioral criteria used by health care professionals and laymen for defining the elderly as demented. Third, case studies show how a diagnosis affects a patient's treatment in both clinical and familial settings.  Finally, the collection highlights the gap that separates current biological understandings of aging from its cultural meanings.

    As Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia continue to command an ever-increasing amount of attention in medicine and psychology, this book will be essential reading for anthropologists, social scientists, and health care professionals.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. vii
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  1. Introduction: Thinking about Dementia
  2. pp. 11-20
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  1. Part One: Changes in Clinical Practice
  2. pp. 21-22
  1. Chapter 1: Dementia-Near-Death and "Life Itself"
  2. pp. 23-42
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  1. Chapter 2: The Borderlands of Primary Care: Physician and Family Perspectives on "Troublesome" Behaviors of People with Dementia
  2. pp. 43-63
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  1. Chapter 3: Negotiating the Moral Status of Trouble: The Experiences of Forgetful Individuals Diagnosed with No Dementia
  2. pp. 64-79
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  1. Chapter 4: Diagnosing Dementia: Epidemiological and Clinical Data as Cultural Text
  2. pp. 80-105
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  1. Chapter 5: The Biomedical Deconstruction of Senility and the Persistent Stigmatization of Old Age in the United States
  2. pp. 106-120
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  1. Part Two: The Role of Genomics in Alzheimer's Research
  2. p. 121
  1. Chapter 6: Genetic Susceptibility and Alzheimer's Disease: The Penetrance and Uptake of Genetic Knowledge
  2. pp. 123-154
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  1. Part Three: The Organization of Voice, Self, or Personhood
  2. p. 155
  1. Chapter 7: Coherence without Facticity in Dementia: The Case of Mrs. Fine
  2. pp. 157-179
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  1. Chapter 8: Creative Storytelling and Self-Expression among People with Dementia
  2. pp. 180-194
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  1. Chapter 9: Embodied Selfhood: An Ethnographic Exploration of Alzheimer's Disease
  2. pp. 195-217
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  1. Chapter 10: Normality and Difference: Institutional Classification and the Constitution of Subjectivity in a Dutch Nursing Home
  2. pp. 218-239
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  1. Chapter 11: Divided Gazes: Alzheimer's Disease, the Person within, and Death in Life
  2. pp. 240-268
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  1. Chapter 12: Being a Good Rojin
  2. pp. 269-288
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  1. Contributors
  2. p. 289
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 291-299
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Additional Information

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Launched on MUSE
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