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Thinking pain

Care worker Annika announces that she does not want to go to Mr Moran. “He always complains.” “I’ll go”, says her colleague Robin, and turning to me he says, “I don’t have the intern today so you can come along if you want to see for yourself how it goes”. We head off to assemble the materials for the morning …

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Refraction of participation

Refraction of participation

What does it mean to participate? What does participation do?[1]

The etymology of ‘participation’ traces from the Latin word participationem, which translates as ‘sharing, partaking, make partaker of’.[2] The word is composed of the Latin pars (a part, piece, division), and the stem capere (to take). To participate is thus to take part.

We …

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The House

The question of how Willem was coping, alone in the big house, had come to concern many of those surrounding him. Over the past couple of months, Willem had been tired, and was showing up at the drop-in centre less and less. His daughter had called on others to help him to prepare warm meals. He himself talked of his …

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George, the dog

Babe, my grandpa, was born on the kitchen tiles of a small Seattle home. His dad, whose own grandpa had run a seedy downtown brothel, would disappear and reappear throughout his life. But Babe was not like the men who came before him. He spent his youth delivering newspapers and parking cars to support his mother, went to war when …

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Strangers in unfamiliar environments: Struggles for subjectivity in a dementia care ward

During fieldwork on dementia care in a nursing home, I was struck by the complex and layered orderings of space, time and subjectivity in daily life on the wards, and the struggle this implied for people with dementia.

On her ‘daily rounds’ strolling through the nursing home ward, Mrs Hansen repeatedly expressed great relief and pleasure on meeting a familiar …

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Thinking with spirits

During my first visit to Ghana in 1998, I was involved in a research project that looked at possible co-operations between healers and psychiatric clinics. I stayed in the healing camp of Prophet Abbam II, who was known in the area to heal patients with mental health problems. My presence at his healing church attracted many visitors, who kindly brought …