Activistic citizenship in nursing homes: co-ownership in the mundane
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionDementia. 2023, 1-16. 10.1177/14713012231155307
The traditional narrative of dementia, focused on cognition as constructive of personhood, has been challenged by person-centred care as well as a rights-based citizenship lens. However, reports of everyday discrimination leading to occupational deprivation and pathologising interpretations of people living with dementia in nursing homes highlight the need for further investigation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the transformative power of mundane and relational enactments of citizenship in nursing homes, exploring the potential of adding an activistic lens of citizenship to our interpretive practices. Through an ethnographic study in Norwegian nursing homes, a narrative analysis of fieldnotes and interview transcripts was conducted. Narratives were interpreted using narrative theory, occupational perspectives and theories of citizenship. Findings reveal a phenomenon of shared ownership between residents and staff, and a vulnerable balance between silence and active social and occupational engagement in the nursing homes. Further, they shed light on how group-based assessments of residents’ abilities or occupational needs may constrain opportunities, and staffs’ options, to facilitate co-ownership. We suggest that a lens of activistic citizenship implies interpreting residents’ behaviours as mundane forms of subtle re- sistance. A professional and ethical responsibility building on such interpretive practices may turn attention towards structures that constrain residents’ expressions of citizenship.