Theory, Culture and Society 19 (5-6):207-226 (2002)

In public debates about the desirability of force feeding in the Netherlands the inclination of people with dementia to refrain from eating and drinking tends to be either taken as their gut-way of expressing their will, or as a symptom of their disease running its natural course. An ethnographic inquiry into daily care, however, gives a quite different insight in fasting by relating it to common practices of eating and drinking in nursing homes. In a nursing home eating and drinking are important social activities that may be shaped quite differently. And while necessary for survival, food and drink also have other qualities: taste, temperature, texture, smell. Whether we want it or not, in the end we all die. But with different modes of care come different modes of dying and of living.
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DOI 10.1177/026327602761899228
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