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Looking out of place: analysing the spatial and symbolic meanings of dementia care setting through dress

Buse, Christina E., Twigg, Julia (2014) Looking out of place: analysing the spatial and symbolic meanings of dementia care setting through dress. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 9 (1). pp. 69-95. ISSN 1652-8670. E-ISSN 1652-8670. (doi:10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.20149169) (KAR id:53622)

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The article explores how clothing exposes – and troubles – the ambiguous location of care homes on the boundaries of public/private, home/institutional space. It deploys a material analysis of the symbolic uses and meanings of dress, extending the remit of the new cultural gerontology to encompass the “fourth age,” and the lives of older people with dementia. The article draws on an ESRC-funded study “Dementia and Dress,” conducted in the United Kingdom (UK), which explored everyday experiences of clothing for people with dementia, carers and careworkers, using ethnographic and qualitative methods. Careworkers and managers were keen to emphasise the “homely” nature of care homes, yet this was sometimes at odds with the desire to maintain presentable and orderly bodies, and with institutional routines of bodywork. Residents’ use of clothing could disrupt boundaries of public/private space, materialising a sense of not being “at home,” and a desire to return there.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.20149169
Uncontrolled keywords: Care homes; space; place; dementia; public/private; dress; embodiment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Lucie Patch
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2016 10:52 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:32 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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