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Emotional geographies in an assisted living facility in Sweden: Emotions in fieldwork
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5295-2482
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This presentation aims to discuss three situations I experienced in an ethnographic fieldwork about care work in an assisted living facility in Sweden. The three situations explore various emotional aspects, what impact and influences they had on my fieldwork. The presentation makes a cross analysis of the emotional content and the space where the situation took place, including how they interfere with each other.

A man with dementia. This situation took place in the man’s bathroom where the carer helped him with his hygiene. It included emotional aspects that had an impact on the ethical reconsiderations I did before going on with the study. They also brought aspect of privacy and exposure to the foreground in a fruitful way, a theme I later developed in an article in Ageing & Society.

A blind man. This situation happened in the dining-room in the facility. This man was very depressed and only wanted to lie in his bed. Because he risked developing pneumonia, the staff tried to make him be up as much as possible although he did not want to. In this situation he protested vividly. I could mirror my feelings in the staff experience of the situation so I deepened my understanding of ethical aspects of their work.

A woman with dementia. In this situation the woman was helped by me on and off the toilet in her bathroom. Her fragile body evoked the same feelings as a child evokes. This highly ambiguous situation made me reflect on the risks of infantilizing older people because of benevolence.

The presentation will conclude with a summary of the various ways of benefitting of emotional experiences in a fieldwork, mainly ethical guidance and theoretical impact.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Architecture, emotions, fieldwork, ethnographic method
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-96679OAI: diva2:642627
Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, 1-3 July 2013, Groningen, The Netherlands
Available from: 2013-08-22 Created: 2013-08-22 Last updated: 2015-04-22

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