Sensory loss amongst old family members: trapped inside and outside social encounters

Jon Dag Rasmussen, Ida Wentzel Winther

Publikation: Working paperForskning


The overall aim of the research presented is to gain ethnographically detailed knowledge in everyday landscapes and life as experienced by old people suffering severe weakening in their hearing and/or seeing capabilities. Methodologically we apply different forms of qualitative interviewing and ethnographic presence in the lives of approximately 30 old people living either in private homes or in nursery homes. The study is conducted in both rural and urban settings in Denmark.
The working paper will focus on family related aspects, as they emerge in the lives of the followed informants and their close family. Our tentative findings point towards a prominence of different insecurities and discomforts in social life that directly links to the decreased sensory abilities. Experiences of being ‘lost’, ‘set afloat’ and disconnected in everyday life interactions are broadly described by all of the followed old people in varying degree. This leads towards uncomfortable and weakened ‘images of self’, and it leaves the affected old people with feelings of being inappropriate and clumsy, at best, stupid and hopelessly lost, at worst. Our material reveals a number of consequences inflicted not alone on the old people suffering a decline in sensory abilities, but also on family members as individual loss becomes collective loss in the context of family and kinship.
The paper presentation takes its point of departure in rough pieces of empirical material (e.g. film-clips, sound-clips/montage and ethnographic description) and through exposition of tentative analysis and research findings we aim to initiate a discussion around central themes of the work.
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2018
Udgivet eksterntJa

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