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Elderly People, Dementia, Interviews with Older People, Narrative Stories
The essay presents an analysis of the interviews and life history of an informant diagnosed with dementia. Special attention is paid to the peculiarities of the sociologist’s work with such material, which, unlike most interviews, is “irrational,” full of semantic failures and contradictions. The usual methods of sociological analysis and interpretation are powerless in such cases, and the researcher needs a fundamentally different approach to the material in order to break through unusual reflections and time collisions and to get closer to understanding the informant. This essay is based on the material collected in the framework of the Oxford Russia Fellowship program in a rural nursing home in one of the regions of Russia and examines peculiarities of conducting and analyzing interviews with an informant diagnosed with dementia. Furthermore, the author reflects on what the researcher ought to do to find “semantic hints”—connecting bridges between the past and present in the informant’s narrative.
Text in Russian