Bioethics and Sciences of Aging:
The Case of Dementia
October 5th - 7th 2012
University of California, Berkeley
Organized by Silke Schicktanz, Julia Inthorn, & Mark Schweda (Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, University Medical Center Goettingen
In cooperation with UC Berkeley
Robert Knight (Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute UCB), Cori Hayden (Science, Technology, & Society Center UCB), & Charis Thompson (Gender & Science Program UCB)
Questions of age and ageing are rapidly shifting to the centre of public as well as academic discourses. Especially recent developments in dementia research and care find increasing attention. However, the socio-cultural factors and theoretical/methodological premises of understanding and conceptualizing this emerging field of research are still often less than clear: While the medical point of view has long been dominant in many western countries, leading to an understanding and treatment of age(ing) and dementia in terms of physical and mental decline and pathology, social and cultural aspects have often been neglected. On the other hand, there is increasing awareness that socio-cultural factors such as cultural traditions, the structures of national legal and economic framework conditions and healthcare systems, as well as the foci of popular media discourses also frame and shape the way age(ing) and dementia are perceived and dealt with. The workshop will include perspectives from neuroscientists, philosophers, ethicists, cultural anthropologists and social scientists. The discussion will focus on recent developments of dementia research, diagnosis and prevention and care in the USA and Germany, also highlighting the role of political players such as patient associations. Sufficient time slots for discussion will be allowed to ensure intensive interdisciplinary exchange and elaborate concrete research topics.