S5.1 Making citizenship matter
Chair: Ruth Bartlett
The aim of this proposed session is to provoke critical debate about the meaning and practice of social citizenship in the context of people with a dementia. Citizenship as a core consideration in understanding and responding to the experience of dementia has gained increasing currency over the past ten years. National pledges such as the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers in Scotland, as well as a global policy emphasis on the full participation of people with dementia in society show how ideals associated with citizenship - such as inclusivity, recognition, and people enjoying rights – are becoming integral to dementia discourse (World Health Organisation, 2012) (Bartlett, 2016). However, as citizenship scholars note: ‘it is rarely clear what full citizenship entails and herein lies the protean force of the idea of citizenship; it is a never fully realised ideal that always has to be invoked, revisited and discursively reconstructed in order to be effective’ (Hansen, 2015: 231). Hence, in this symposium we present and discuss different meanings of and ways to practice or promote citizenship in various contexts, including care homes, community groups, care farms, and municipalities. The symposium consists of four papers, all of which draw upon empirical work, to advance understanding of the meaning and practice of social citizenship in the context of people with a dementia. Our speakers are from different European institutions and countries, including the University of Southampton (UK), Technische Universität Berlin (Germany), Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Norway) and Linköping University (Sweden). The chair is a leading proponent in using a citizenship lens to broaden the dementia debate. All the speakers and chair are members of the Facebook Group: International Citizenship and Dementia Network. Our key objectives are to: 1. Advance understanding of social citizenship in relation to people with a dementia; 2. Share research findings related to social citizenship and people with a dementia; 3. Provoke reflection and critical discussion about the value of citizenship as a theoretical concept to dementia studies, and gerontology more broadly.
S5.1.1 Material Citizenship: Introducing citizenship practice in care homes through a
University of Southampton, UK
Questions such as what does citizenship look like in care homes and how is it practiced have not been fully addressed. In addition, whilst there is growing literature on the subject of citizenship regarding people living with a dementia, it remains under-theorised and lacks a material lens. In this paper, I draw upon my doctoral work in care homes to argue that a way of locating citizenship is the introduction of ‘material citizenship’. I define material citizenship as ‘the right to be included in decision making relating to belongings and opportunities to use ‘functional objects’. The concept combines psychological and sociological concepts of everyday routines and rituals, and maintains and reconstructs a person’s identities through the subjective and material worlds in which we live and perform through the use of ‘functional objects’. Material citizenship is highly relevant to people living with a dementia in care homes, where institutional policies and procedures are designed to meet care needs rather than promote rights and citizenship.
S5.1.2 “Dementia-friendly communities” in Germany: barriers and potentials for the
performance of social citizenship
Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
A politicized debate about social citizenship is widely missing in the context of dementia practice and research in Germany. People with a dementia are predominately imagined as passive recipients of treatment, care and support, rather than citizens who actively engage in shaping the relationships and networks they participate in. However, over the past years the promotion of so called “dementia-friendly communities” has gained importance in Germany. Based on findings from ethnographic research on community-based care and activity groups the presentation contributes to an evaluation of “dementia-friendly communities” through a social citizenship lens: It identifies (a) disabling institutional and cultural barriers of exclusion, discrimination, and inequality as well as (b) enabling opportunities and potentials for the practice of social citizenship that co-exist within “dementia-friendly communities” in Germany. The presentation concludes with some suggestions how enabling conditions and opportunities for the performance of social citizenship can be strengthened.
S5.1.3 Activity provision on farms for people living with dementia
Tobba Therkildsen Sudmann
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
Background: In Norway, farms offer activity provision to people living with dementia. The body of knowledge on how participants use and appraise these services is limited. Methods: Ethically approved case studies/participant observation including approximately twenty-five participants, five farmers, and three farms. The theoretical framework is micro-sociology. Results: Enablement and reablement are related to micro-interaction, roles and audiences. The groom/farmhand/maid-role needs tools, tasks and supervisors, the guest-role needs coffee drinking, handiwork and hosts. Participants and farmers slip-slide between roles. Conclusions: Farm-life gives contact with nature, animals, physical activity, communal meals and social interaction. Real and meaningful activities enhance the participants’ sense of wellbeing, and reduces the risk of embarrassment and stigma. Farm contexts facilitate a sense of community and a situated identity, which diminishes the significance of dementia. Farmers and their employees need practical and relational skills to be able to detect and exploit enabling activities and environments at the farm.
S5.1.4 Citizenship awareness: The making of people living with dementia as citizen
Ann-Charlotte Nedlund, Annika Taghizadeh Larsson
Linköping University, Sweden
Background: As targets of welfare-state policies people with dementia becomes socially positioned in an ambivalent way by actors working in welfare institutions. This could end up excluding and including groups in society. The aim is to critically explore the making of people with dementia, as citizen targets. Methods: 35 interviews with politicians and senior administrators at four municipalities in Sweden responsible for social support and services. A thematic content analysis was made. Results: The making of people with dementia followed four themes: a) as Agents who have a say; b) as Participants who need support to have a voice; c) as Persons with standardised needs: d) as Objects. Conclusions: Welfare institutions are good at delivering services that are accurate and fair, but are challenged by ”non-standard” services and needs. Belonging relates to the practices and possibilities to participate and influence policy but also on what becomes the citizenship content.