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Lecture 5

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University of Toronto St. George
Markus Schafer

LEC5 reading Susan Behuniak “the living dead? The construction of people with Alzheimer’s disease as zombies” -The athor is not argue that AD is itself a social construct but to suggest that knowledge of AD has in part been constructed by reference to the images and languages associated with teh fictional characters called zombies. The frightening celluloid images of fictional characters called zombies have leaked into the popular and scholarly discourse about real people who have AD, constructing them as animated corpses and hteir disaes as a terrifying threat to the social order Biomedical model does not fully account for the negativity of repsonse to aD. Rather, a simplified view of the treatment and care implications of hte model have been supplemented by the zombie metaphor to generate a social construction of AD patients. It is infused iwth disgust and terror The biomedical model alone cannot account for the degree of terror taht surrounds AD. Although a terminal disease can invoke a dread of death, it is not so much death by AD that terriefies but the proposition that patients will be dehumanised thorugh social construction as the “living dead” Seven characteristics are associated with zombies: Lack of self recoginition Failure to recognize others Cannibalisalisation living human beings The exponential spreading of this plague Three aspects of hte zombie trope---appearance, loss of self and loss of the ability to recognise others---- have been directly applied to people with AD. Three other aspects---the epidemic threat, widespread cultural terror. And death as preferable to becommg an animated corpse –are referenced by way of implication in describing the disease itself. There is almost casual infusion into the discourse about AD , it’s not maliciously invoked. “loss of oneself” The fear is not about death, but the “loss of oneslef while you are still alive” “inability to recognise others” Perhaps the most disconcerting and terrifying
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