Title

The social dynamics of elder care: Rituals of bureaucracy and physical neglect in nursing homes

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2008

Abstract

This research concerns nursing home rituals involving bureaucracy and physical neglect. It uses 40 ethnographies, biographies, and autobiographies to explore various symbolic themes expressed through everyday interaction in nursing homes. The themes involve bureaucratic concepts such as staff separation, rules, documentation, and efficiency. They also involve ideas of physical neglect, such as medical dereliction, personal negligence, environmental negligence, and bodily harm. Relying on structural ritualization theory, this work argues ritualized symbolic practices of bureaucracy unintentionally manufacture attitudes and acts of mercilessness for workers in both for-profit and nonprofit nursing homes. This aids in the development of rituals facilitating the physical maltreatment of residents. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

DOI

10.1080/02732170801898422

First Page

357

Last Page

388

Volume

28

Issue

4

Publication Title

Sociological Spectrum

ISSN

02732173

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