Who speaks up for Inés Fonseca? Representing violence against vulnerable subjects and the ethics of care in fictional narrative about Alzheimer’s disease: Ahora tocad música de baile (2004) by Andrés Barba

Raquel Medina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper studies the 2004 Spanish fictional novel by Andrés Barba, Ahora tocad música de baile, one of the first cultural texts dealing entirely with Alzheimer's disease to appear in Spain. It argues that the significance of Barba's fictional novel rests on two important issues: the ethics of representation of violence against vulnerable subjects and the ethics of care. The paper analyses how these two issues allow Barba to create a story in which the verbal and physical abuse to which the person living with Alzheimer's disease is subjected places the reader, on the one hand, as voyeur/witness of the abuse; and, on the other, as interpreter, and ultimately judge, of the fine line that separates euthanasia, assisted suicide and murder. The open ending of the novel defers all ethical and moral judgement to the reader. It examines how the novel offers a monolithic perspective about Alzheimer's disease, in which care is presented as a burden. In fact, this study shows that the novel's multi-layered structure and polyphonic nature places the emphasis on stigmas, stereotypes and negative metaphors around Alzheimer's disease, as found in contemporary social discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1394-1415
Number of pages22
JournalAgeing and Society
Volume37
Issue number7
Early online date20 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available via Cambridge Journals Online at
https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X16000337

Keywords

  • fiction
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • readership
  • murder
  • euthanasia
  • stereotypes
  • stigma
  • ethics of care
  • vulnerable subjects
  • representation of violence

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