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1. Zhang, Yan. A Landscape of Dementia Care: Politics, Practices, and Morality in Shanghai, China.

Degree: PhD, Anthropology, 2020, Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies

“A Landscape of Dementia Care: Politics, Practices, and Morality in Shanghai, China” addresses the impact of biopolitical discourses on the practice of dementia care and the associated moral struggles with family dementia caregiving during the process of modernization in China. The specific biopolitical discourses primarily impacting dementia care include the biomedical representation of dementia as a mental disorder rooted in biological malfunction of the brain and the national legislation underscoring the obligation of families to support and care for elders. As China has joined the global fight against dementia, a list of Western humanistic care practices have been introduced to improve the condition of dementia sufferers. Unfortunately, these Western practices have caused conflicts with traditional mode of dementia care. Contrary to the established view that care arises from caregivers’ internal convictions, I argue that social configurations have not only shaped new care paradigms, but also created tensions within care practices. These tensions stem from the conflict between biopolitical governance and local resistance, between technological care and hands-on care, and between traditional norms and modern ethics. From these tensions, new care paradigms are emerging. At the society level, these new paradigms include the neurologist-centered medical care (which is replacing the traditional psychiatrist-centered dementia care), the establishment of dementia-care units in eldercare facilities, and the advocacy of relational care for dementia sufferers. These different care paradigms complicate the biopolitical discourses, which further affect the perceptions and practices of dementia care among family caregivers. Within domestic settings, care as stewardship, in which family caregivers actively incorporates modern techniques to improve care outcomes, and resigned familism, in which family caregivers do not fully resign from caregiving nor are fully compassionate to patients, are two paradigms closely related to biopolitical discourses. Due to the overwhelming care burden, family caregivers face moral dilemmas of taking care of dementia sufferers. These dilemmas include fulfilling one’s moral and legal duties without protecting individual rights and favoring collective interests by unwillingly sacrificing personal interests. Without effective social support, family caregivers have to figure out individual strategies to solve these dilemmas. Potential strategies include embracing self-care and revitalizing traditional beliefs (e.g., Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity) to bring moral comfort. By examining the politics, practices, and morality of dementia care, this project has unraveled changes of the power structure, dynamics of family-based care, moral dilemmas of family caregivers, and transformations in the meanings associated with dementia and care. Advisors/Committee Members: Shi, Lihong (Committee Chair).

Subjects/Keywords: Asian Studies; Cultural Anthropology; Families and Family Life; Gerontology; Health; Sociology; Dementia care, Politics, Practices, Morality, China

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APA (6th Edition):

Zhang, Y. (2020). A Landscape of Dementia Care: Politics, Practices, and Morality in Shanghai, China. (Doctoral Dissertation). Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies. Retrieved from http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=case1586543835458071

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Zhang, Yan. “A Landscape of Dementia Care: Politics, Practices, and Morality in Shanghai, China.” 2020. Doctoral Dissertation, Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies. Accessed July 08, 2020. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=case1586543835458071.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Zhang, Yan. “A Landscape of Dementia Care: Politics, Practices, and Morality in Shanghai, China.” 2020. Web. 08 Jul 2020.

Vancouver:

Zhang Y. A Landscape of Dementia Care: Politics, Practices, and Morality in Shanghai, China. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies; 2020. [cited 2020 Jul 08]. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=case1586543835458071.

Council of Science Editors:

Zhang Y. A Landscape of Dementia Care: Politics, Practices, and Morality in Shanghai, China. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies; 2020. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=case1586543835458071

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