, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 607-626
Date: 05 Sep 2008

Discipline in Chaos: Foucault, Dementia and Aging in India

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

In India, care work for people in late-stage dementia is primarily conducted in the home. Using source material from urban India and drawing on Foucauldian theory, we illustrate the significance of three power/knowledge scripts in this context: social and cultural notions of acceptable, public bodies; medicalized forms of care; and the cultural contexts of the individual caregivers. The caregiver is the embodiment of these discourses and is charged with the task of mapping discipline onto inherently undisciplinable bodies. A tension exists between the caregiver’s struggle to contain the unruliness of the person with dementia and, simultaneously, to act as a broker between the world of the care-recipient and the social world. We conclude that although the caregiver is the starting point for the exercise of discipline, the three power/knowledge scripts that inform care work are as much about surveying, routinizing and mobilizing caregivers’ bodies as they are about disciplining the bodies of people with dementia.