Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Keohane, K., Grace, V. What is ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’? The ‘Auguste D’ Case Re-opened, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry Volume 43, Issue 2, 15 June 2019, Pages 336-359

DOI: 10.1007/s11013-019-09622-z

Abstract
What is Alzheimer’s: an organic, neuropathological psychiatric disease, caused by plaques and tangles in aging brains or/and an existential condition affecting the minds of aging persons experiencing disconnection from meaning-bearing networks of social relations? Reviewing current research and revisiting Alzheimer’s original case of ‘Auguste D’ this paper offers an historical–sociological genealogy that raises fundamental questions of causality, and even of the ontological status of Alzheimer’s and the dementia reputed to it as a disease entity. Drawing on Kuhn’s notion of ‘science as usual’ and Foucault’s notion of the discursive formation of ‘regimes of truth’, our analysis seeks to understand how a sole medical focus on either bio-markers of neurological disease or genetic association was accomplished in the absence of sufficient and robust evidence. To counter the exclusion of psychosocial considerations, this paper offers two original hypotheses on the iconic case of ‘Auguste D’, taking into account the social milieu in which she lived and the specific circumstances of her life. It goes on to suggest the way in which the contemporary socio-cultural context may have dementiagenic tendencies. This research supports Gaines and Whitehouse’s argument that research into the phenomenon and symptoms of Alzheimer’s should focus on extracorporal and psychosocial factors.

One thought on “What is ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’? The ‘Auguste D’ Case Re-opened (2019)

  1. Pingback: What is ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’? The ‘Auguste D’ Case Re-opened (2019) — Foucault News – Social Studies of Science

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: