“Please call my daughter”: Ethical practice in dementia care as an art of dwelling

Jong-min Jeong


This article aims to extend the current understanding of ethical practice within a dementia context, in which people living with dementia are often taken for granted as mere beneficiaries of care, rather than as co-producers in day-to-day care practice. Building on a decade of voluntary work and a year of fieldwork (including six weeks’ intensive observation of nightlife) at a Jewish care home in London, I pay attention to the affective dimension of ethical practice at the moment of sleep disturbance of a resident with dementia. Inspired by Heidegger’s concept of dwelling, I understand the episode not as pathological, but as a process through which ethical subjects emerge in the making of ongoing, entangled ethical endeavors. I argue that ethical practice is neither predetermined nor random: rather, it is the way in which those involved continuously respond and attune to the ever-changing circumstances: what I call an ‘art of dwelling’.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/709531