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Something on the brain

Starts: 18 June 2014

Something on the brain

The MeSC and CIP research groups are hosting an event entitled 'Something on the Brain' on Wednesday 18 June 2014 at 14:00-17:00 in the Glamorgan Building, room 0.86

Our speakers for this session will be Professor Joanna Latimer (SOCSI), Tim Banks (SOCSI), Bethany Coad (PSYCH), and Julie Latchem (SOCSI). The session will be dedicated to broadly exploring issues around the brain / neurology with a social scientific focus on aging, illness, and/or disability. 


In her paper ‘Dwelling with dementia: body-world relations, participation and care’, Professor Latimer addresses issues surrounding health and care of older people with dementia.  Drawing together new neuroscientific theories of decreased capacity for sociality in particular forms of dementia with philosophical explorations of the existential affects of dementia care as recorded by Letiche and Schillmeier, Latimer offers a theoretical approach that illuminates dementia not just as something that an individual has, but as an emergent property of body-world relations. Latimer goes on to offer for discussion a possible way out of simply treating people with dementia as in deficit.  This approach involves a way of reimagining dementia care as a site of dwelling, for both practitioners and patients alike, but that the specific affects of dementia reduce the competencies of both those with and without dementia to be response-able (Latimer 1999) in each others realities. Latimer suggests a way forward through which how people interact and participate is crucial to practitioners and patients making worlds together, including possibilities for 'being with' (Haraway 2009) as well as for 'being alongside' (Latimer 2013).

Drawing on his ethnographic study of acquired brain injury (ABI), Tim Banks will consider 'medicalisation' as a tool for legitimating the patient when the symptoms of ABI are contested. He will discuss how this is achieved and understood by the major actors involved. He will also consider the consequences of being de-medicalised; having the symptoms relegated, disregarded and rejected and the impact this can have for the individual.

Bethany Coad will explore the experiences of individuals who care for family members with Neurodegenerative disease focusing particularly on Frontotemporal dementia, a condition characterised by social dysfunction. Caregiving is known to be highly demanding and have a profound impact on families, yet relatively little attention has been paid to the particular demands of caring for individuals with social and cognitive degeneration. The talk will centre on existing literature that has investigated the impact of social-cognitive skills and empathy on caregivers and on the effect that symptoms have on quality of life of both caregiver and patient.

In her presentation 'Safeguarding the future for an incompetent self – medical, legal and social barriers in disorders of conscious', Julie Latchem explores how the construction of the Western Sovereign Subject has become a battle ground in the case of disorders of conscious, being both upheld and overruled in medico-legal processes and through social action.  Discussing current medico-legal practice surrounding the vegetative and minimal conscious states, Julie illuminates how we are attempting to (and often failing) to safeguard the future for our incompetent self and opens up for discussion what the sovereignty v sanctity of life war reveals about contemporary British society.


If you require any further information with regards to this event or would like to be included on the MeSC mailing list, please contact Gareth Thomas ( or Rebecca Dimond ( All postgraduate students, staff, and researchers are welcome to attend.


Other information

Open To: Public
Staff and Students