Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/rs-contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
Publication Detail
Technologies of Ascription: How Does a Dementia Diagnosis Acquire its Symbolic Power of Exclusion in Later Life?
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Libert S, Higgs P
  • Publisher:
    University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1, 16
  • Journal:
    Anthropology & Aging
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Dementia, Exclusion, Ascription, Successful Ageing, Failed Ageing, Technology
  • Notes:
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This journal is published by the University Library System of the University of Pittsburgh as part of its D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program, and is cosponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Amidst the widespread stigma and exclusion attached to dementia in dominant narratives of successful ageing, this article addresses a gap in the scientific literature concerning our understanding of the medicalization of cognitive decline as a natural phenomenon. To this end, it explores how a dementia diagnosis acquires its symbolic power of exclusion in later life through an ethnography of cognitive rehabilitation therapy in two memory clinics in a southern European nation. It argues that this symbolic power of exclusion is locally produced through the meaning making practices of therapists and researchers administering regular cognitive training therapy and exercises to support autonomy. It shows how the different steps involved in rehabilitation play a role in dividing later life by defining and reifying a category of abnormal ageing during the cognitive assessment, and by applying a confrontational approach exposing decline. It shows how this approach generates the position of older adults who can be rehabilitated against those who cannot; the latter representing a “failed” ageing in the narrative of successful ageing. This article proposes the adoption of the concept of “technologies of ascription” to characterize this process of exclusion through reification and confrontation of “abnormal cognitive decline.” The paper argues that such practices are central to the local production of the symbolic power attached to a dementia diagnosis as well as its capacity to fragment later life. Finally, it argues for the utility of this concept in offering new opportunities for anthropology to characterize exclusion in later life through medicalization.
Publication data is maintained in RPS. Visit https://rps.ucl.ac.uk
 More search options
UCL Researchers
Mental Health of Older People
Division of Psychiatry
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by