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ERIC Number: EJ889274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2725
Attributions of Agency and the Construction of Moral Order: Dementia, Death, and Dignity in Nursing-Home Care
Rodriquez, Jason
Social Psychology Quarterly, v72 n2 p165-179 2009
Using evidence gathered during 18 months of participant-observation in 2 nursing homes and 65 interviews with staff, this article examines how nursing-home staff use agency as a rhetorical resource to construct a dignified workplace. Staff attribute agency to dying residents, saying they choose the timing and conditions of their death. Staff equally insist that aggressive residents do not have agency. These two sets of attributions are used as counterpoints. Both go well beyond the available facts of the situation and reflect unspoken assumptions and interests of nursing-care workers. Through these attributions, the staff achieves a situated moral order in which compassionate care is provided to deserving residents in caring nursing homes. Staff attributions of agency are collectively shaped by professional philosophies, training and education, and regulatory guidelines. Finally, this article shows how it is analytically and theoretically productive to recast agency as a cultural object, whose use is subject to empirical investigation, rather than as a theoretical construct. (Contains 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A