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'I'm wondering now if I'm the only person who remembers': using film and narrative biography to resist socal amnesia in dementia studies.

Capstick, Andrea Josephine (2008) 'I'm wondering now if I'm the only person who remembers': using film and narrative biography to resist socal amnesia in dementia studies. Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This study is grounded in my concerns, as a HE lecturer in Dementia Studies, about the difficulties practitioner-students face in writing reflectively about their work with people who have dementia. I introduced a short fiction film, Ex Memoria, into the curriculum, initially as a means of ascertaining whether the use of an arts-based approach would facilitate greater reflection among students more familiar with biomedical perspectives on dementia. The film attempts to convey the experiences of a woman with dementia, a Polish-Jewish refugee from wartime Poland, now living in a London care home. Twenty two students completed either coursework assignments or reviews based on the film. The findings suggest that the psychosocial perspective which underpins the Dementia Studies programme, and has been widely promoted as a corrective to the biomedical ‘standard paradigm’ (Kitwood, 1997), itself contributes to the ahistorical and depoliticized positioning of people with dementia, their families, and professional caregivers. In conclusion I argue that the psychologisation of dementia has contributed to its academic marginalisation. A broader, more transdisciplinary approach is required; one which sets dementia in the context of 20th century history, and thus avoids the social amnesia (Jacoby, 1996) currently affecting dementia studies.

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