The print newspaper as an interactional affordance in an interaction with a person with dementia


  • Elisabeth Muth Andersen University of Southern Denmark



Dementia, Communication aids, Memory difficulties, Newspaper reading, Conversation Analysis


Background/method: Using conversation analytical methodology, this article presents a detailed analysis of how a person with dementia uses the affordances of a print newspaper to initiate, manage, and close topics in an interaction with a visiting researcher during leisure time in the common room of a dementia unit.

Results: The analyses show how a print newspaper is introduced and handled effortlessly by a person with dementia and used for communication purposes. The person with dementia recurrently contributes to the interaction by making observations about and assessments of the visual appearance of the newspaper, reading aloud from the newspaper, and commenting.

Discussion/conclusion: The study discusses how social interaction that is anchored in familiar objects such as a newspaper may help persons with dementia and their interactional partners find common conversational ground that does not rely on access to specific memories of the past, which may increase active participation by the person with dementia.

Author Biography

Elisabeth Muth Andersen, University of Southern Denmark

Elisabeth Muth Andersen is an associate professor in Danish language and communication at the Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, and is a member of the research center Social Practices and Cognition (SoPraCon). Her PhD explores micro-analytic methodologies to analyze online health communication. Mainly using ethnomethodological conversation analytical methodology, she has conducted research on online health communication practices, as well as on interactional practices in interactions involving people with aphasia and people with dementia. Recent publications include papers in Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology and Communication and Medicine: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Healthcare, Ethics and Society. For further information, see


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How to Cite

Andersen, E. M. . (2021). The print newspaper as an interactional affordance in an interaction with a person with dementia. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 11(2), 105–126.




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