Clown's view as respiciō: looking respectfully to and after people with dementia

Ruud Hendriks
2016 Medicine, Health care and Philosophy  
Clowns seem suspect when it comes to respect. The combination of clowning and people with dementia may seem especially suspicious. In this argument, I take potential concerns about clowning in dementia care as an opportunity to explore the meaning of a respectful approach of people with dementia. Our word 'respect' is derived from the Latin respiciō, meaning 'looking back' or 'seeing again', as well as 'looking after' or 'having regard' for someone or something. I build upon this double meaning
more » ... of respiciō by examining how simultaneously we look to and after people with dementia. I do so empirically by studying how miMakkus clowns in their practice learn to look with new eyes to people and things around them. I call this clown's view and differentiate it from the predominant way of observing people in dementia care. I argue that respiciō comes in two guises, each of which merges specific forms of looking to and looking after the other. By making conventional, solidified ways of seeing the other fluid again, clowns remind us of the value that comes with a veiled way of paying respect to people with dementia.
doi:10.1007/s11019-016-9734-1 pmid:27663884 pmcid:PMC5487737 fatcat:dyaoj6beufckbpv6bemhs5fkyy