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PhD Portrait

The most common story about dementia is that of sufferers sailing into darkness, disappearing over a horizon beyond communication and expression. Despite predictions of a staggering increase in the prevalence of dementia in the not too distant future, little has been written about how ways of living well with the condition can be brought about and supported. In her thesis, Annelieke Driessen contributes to the urgent project of creating new imaginaries, in order to inspire practices that allow for life with dementia to be a good life. In her ethnography of everyday life and care in three care and nursing homes for people with dementia in the Netherlands, Annelieke draws on participant observation in various activities on the ward, including food provison, bathing residents, and a biweekly dancing event. She shows how care professionals and others who provide care, in taking seriously what residents want, becoming aware of interactions with the built environment, attending to difference, and crafting conditions for enjoyment, enact 'interesting subject positions' for people with dementia. If residents accept these invitations, they can become desiring, appreciating subjects. Annelieke’s study advances 'radical relationality' as methodological approach, an analytical strategy and a key finding, therein formulating novel and useful insights for researchers who seek to make their methods more inclusive to people who cannot voice their perspective in an interview; and furthers the dementia research in pushing for the understanding of subjectivity as dependent on the sociomaterial. The publically accessible sections of Annelieke’s can be accessed via https://hdl.handle.net/11245.1/dd0c2b9b-348d-4de8-9747-84363846fdd0.

Personal website: https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/aboutus/people/driessen.annelieke 

And Twitter: @Annelie3ssen

Relevant publications

See the 'publications' tab for recent publications.

-          Driessen, A. 2019. “Dementia Matters: User-Building Interactions Shaping Institutional Life in the Netherlands.” Medical Anthropology. https://doi.org/10.1080/01459740.2019.1589464

-          Driessen, A. 2018. “Pleasure and Dementia: On Becoming an Appreciating Subject.” Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 36 (1): 23–39. https://doi.org/10.3167/cja.2018.360103.

-          K. Krause, J. Pols, A. Driessen and E. Yates-Doerr (Eds). Thinking with Dementia. Somatosphere. http://somatosphere.net/thinking-with-dementia/

-          Amsterdam Care Collective. 2018. “Dementia and the Good Life: Collaborations with the Field.” Medicine Anthropology Theory. http://www.medanthrotheory.org/read/10021/dementia-and-the-good-life

-          Driessen, A. 2017. “Sociomaterial Will-Work: Aligning Daily Wanting in Dutch Dementia Care.” In Care in Healthcare: Reflections on Theory and Practice, edited by Joachim Boldt and Franziska Krause, 111–33. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

-          Driessen, A., I. Van der Klift, and K. Krause. 2017. “Freedom in Dementia Care? On Becoming Better Bound to the Nursing Home.” Etnofoor 29 (1): 29–41. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44318093?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

-          Driessen, A, and Ibañez Martin, R. (Accepted for publication) Attending to difference. Enacting individuals in food provision for residents with dementia. Sociology of Health and Illness