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Volume 41

New Directions in Anthropology

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Living Before Dying

Imagining and Remembering Home

Janette Davies
Foreword by Lord Nigel Crisp

172 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-614-0 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (August 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-615-7 eBook

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"Dr. Davies has tackled a complex, emotionally difficult and important issue facing a growing number of families with ageing parents worldwide. She guides the reader through the maze of changing conditions and emotions with grace and compassion. Her observations are astute, deep and insightful." · Patricia O’Neill, University of Oxford China Centre.


This in-depth description of life in a nursing/care home for 70 residents and 40 staff highlights the daily care of frail or ill residents between 80 and 100 years of age, including people suffering with dementia. How residents interact with care assistants is emphasised, as are the different behaviours of men and women observed during a year of daily conversations between the author, patients and staff, who share their stories of the pressures of the work. Living Before Dying shows a world where, in extreme old age, people have to learn how to cope with living communally.

Janette Davies is a social and medical anthropologist at the International Gender Studies Centre, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. Formerly a nurse/midwife she worked in international development in Bolivia, on the Thai/Cambodian border and Bangladesh. She has since conducted anthropological fieldwork in the UK, Zambia, Tanzania and Georgia.

Subject: General Anthropology Medical Anthropology Gender Studies


Lord Nigel Crisp



Chapter 1. The Social and Behavioural Implications of People with Dementia
Chapter 2. Caring in Action - Women in the Workplace
Chapter 3. Social Organization within the Nursing Home
Chapter 4. Managing Activities for the Residents
Chapter 5. Ordering Disorder


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