Book Chapter

Thinking back and looking ahead: co-ordinates for critical methodologies in dementia studies



Ward R & Sandberg LJ (2023) Thinking back and looking ahead: co-ordinates for critical methodologies in dementia studies. In: Ward R & Sandberg LJ (eds.) Critical dementia studies: an introduction. Dementia in Critical Dialogue. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 263-277.

First paragraph: In her chapter in this book, Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons points to arguments in the related field of critical disability studies for moving away from approaches that treat disability as an object of study and towards thinking of a critical approach as primarily a question of methodology (see, for example, Minich, 2016; Schalk, 2017). We admit a certain hesitance here, wondering, for instance, whether this would mean abandoning to a biomedical domain any effort to explain and define dementia, given what we know of the material consequences this has had for people’s lives in the past. But also, as we come on to argue, because object/subject and methodology are in continual dialogue – arguably even co-constitutive. Nonetheless, there is real merit in thinking through this question of critical dementia studies as heralding a distinctive methodology or at least causing us to re-work existing methodologies – de-familiarising what has become routine, habitual and assumed. Such a move could help shift the locus of dementia research from a politically insulated concern with the person and their experience of the condition to an outward vista where dementia (or as Linn suggests earlier, a ‘demented standpoint’) becomes a basis on which to analyse broader social and political conditions. Indeed, we suggest this could be a key objective for critical dementia studies and as Richard has argued elsewhere: Such a development could mark the opening of a radical critique of ‘able-mindedness’ as an organising principle and normative influence upon the social, political and material environments inhabited by us all. (Ward, 2016, p. 227)

Title of seriesDementia in Critical Dialogue
Publication date31/12/2023
Publication date online15/03/2023
Place of publicationAbingdon

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Dr Richard Ward

Dr Richard Ward

Senior Lecturer in Dementia, Dementia and Ageing

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