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Visiting Hours: Spacetimes of Human-Animal Interaction in South African Elder Care

By C. Golomski

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This article examines human-animal interaction in elder care by focusing on an old age home in postapartheid South Africa. Residents admire and desire to be near animals, but staff mostly prohibit pets and service animals due to regulations about hygiene and frailty. Instead, people make meaningful relationships with media representations of animals and wilder animals in the home's yard. This article uses the clinical timescale of visiting hours to interpret these alternative human-animal interactions and their temporal incongruities-to show how people make sense of differences they perceive between their own and animals' mortality and longevity, and how animals enable remembering and articulations of aging selfhood and social relations across the life course. A reinterpretation of visiting hours reveals the making of self-other distinctions in late life and temporal aspects of medical institutionalism that shape multispecies relations.

Publication Title Med Anthropol Q
ISBN/ISSN 0745-5194 (Print)0745-5194
DOI 10.1111/maq.12702
Language eng
Notes Golomski, CaseyJournal ArticleUnited StatesMed Anthropol Q. 2022 Mar 26. doi: 10.1111/maq.12702.
Author Address Department of Anthropology, University of New Hampshire.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aging
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. Older adults
  4. visitors