Society for East Asian Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Dementia has been medicalized as a stigmatized mental disorder in China, which reduces the possibility of residential care for dementia patients due to their potential threats for the administration of eldercare facilities. As a result, patients have to stay in domestic settings, which increases the pressure upon families. Recently, various stakeholders launched dementia-friendly campaigns to destigmatize this condition and to advocate on behalf of patients and their families. By engaging the theoretical framework of governmentality and individual agency, this article examines the social transformation of attitudes toward elders with dementia and organizations endorsing global forms of quality dementia care in Shanghai, China. The study of people who advocate on behalf of dementia patients and their families, places that accommodate dementia patients, and practices that embed quality dementia-care ethics demonstrates how the globally circulated discourses and practices of humanitarian care ethics interact with local care paradigms to govern individual and collective life. Moreover, this article reveals the dialectic relationship between state and society, which mutually determine each other in reform-era China. Lastly, through analyzing strategies of negotiation and cooperation between state and society, this article shows how individuals who participate in making one’s moral subjectivity are also connect with the legitimation of a certain rationale of governmentality.