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A Symbolic Interactionism of Dementia: A Tangle in 'The Alzheimer Conundrum'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-187
JournalSocial Theory and Health
Issue number2
Published11 Sep 2017


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King's Authors


The current molecular model of Alzheimer’s disease has a number of inadequacies and has so far provided little improvement to quality of life. The entanglement model of Alzheimer’s disease offers an alternative. It conceptualizes Alzheimer’s disease within a complex range of considerations and advocate s public health measures in response. This paper seeks to incorporate a social model within entanglement. To address entanglement’s lack of social considerations, a sociological account of dementia more broadly is proposed. A theoretical account is offered through re-examining influential psychosocial work on dementia, within a symbolic interactionist framework. Dementia is illustrated as a process of excess disability, from the discovery of stigma during diagnosis through to the moral career of cognitive decline. As cures are not forthcoming and dementia is currently addressed socially through care, the pursuit of social solutions is an evident, necessary and achievable goal. This can be realized through education, within a broader public health approach.

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