Actor-networks of dementia

  • Schillmeier M
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Remembrance of Things Past unfolds in its extraordinary way an object-centred narrative of memory. Let us just consider the beginning of the novel where we find the narrator in a moment of awakening from deep sleep. In this short but highly uncanny moment of utter detachment from the world, he finds himself in 'the abyss of not-being'. This chapter is also about the remembrance of things past. More precisely, it is about the fading, the mixing up and the loss of remembrances and how people living in a long-term residential care facility experience it. This chapter brings together the methodology of Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) and the work of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger. I reflect upon dementia along a Heideggerian reading of being-in-the-world by using the heuristic tools of ANT. Strangely, forgetting about the conjunctural event of gathering heterogeneous beings brings to the fore the ontological ethos of the social: sparing difference and heterogeneity. As a cosmo-political event, it has been the actornetwork of dementia that makes us aware of the human social as caring about heterogeneity and difference; only then is human dwelling possible. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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