Malene Nørskov Bødker

PhD Fellow, Department of Public Health
University of Copenhagen

CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies
Affiliation period: September 2017 -

Degrees MSc in Public Health :: University of Copenhagen
BA in Public Health :: University of Copenhagen

My research deals with the introduction of reablement care for older people. Reablement is a certain approach to eldercare, which – very much in line with the ‘active aging’ ideal – promotes older people’s self-care, independence and active engagement in life. Although presenting somewhat of an eldercare paradigm of the 21st century, reablement has yet to prove its ability to reduce dependency in old age. The aim of my PhD project is to study the practical aspects of re-enabling older people. Methodologically I employ ethnographic methods including participant observations and interviews with eldercare workers, older people and their relatives.

During my stay at Berkeley I will focus on the socio-material aspects of reablement. Reablement is often promoted as a way to increase self-care and self-reliance in old age. What I wish to demonstrate, however, is that efforts to construct ‘enabled older persons’ involves the mobilization of various humans and things. This brings me to question the notion of ’self’ in self-care and self-reliance and to argue that reablement, rather than being an individual practice, is a highly distributed practice.

last updated: October 4th, 2017