Discours sur la démence et le déclin au Royaume-Uni.
Gérontologie et société
The notion of independence is prominent in current strategies to address the social exclusion of people with dementia in the United Kingdom, as part of a broader narrative of “living well” with the condition. This article explores the practical implications of applying this notion. It is based on a study of six qualitative interviews with researchers developing a psychosocial intervention in this country. An analysis of their perspectives and experiences presents how the application of this concept aims to promote agency and an active lifestyle in people experiencing cognitive decline. This intervention thus reflects a narrative of stabilization in dementia contrasting with its progressive nature. Two areas of tension emerge from this narrative in the intervention, related to 1) the normativity attached to the principle of independence, and 2) the risk of presenting dependency as a choice. In view of these tensions, this article argues that the predominance of the principle of independence risks naturalizing some of the exclusion experienced by people whose dependency prevents them from taking part in this type of intervention. This article then proposes the concept of technologies of omission as an analytical category to study societal interventions, strategies, and narratives that omit the position of people in situations of dependency, thus prompting reflection on our selective relationship to cognitive decline and aging in society.
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