Deterritorializing Dementia

A Review Essay of John Swinton’s Dementia: Living in the Memories of God


  • Frits de Lange Protestant Theological University



dementia, interdisciplinary dialogue, neurobiology, theology


One of John Swinton’s objectives in his recent book, Dementia: Living in the Memories of God (2012), is to “deterritorialize” dementia: dementia is not the privileged domain of the neurologist. Following Tom Kitwood (1997), Swinton argues that dementia is as much relational and social as it is neurological. But he does warn against the moral implications of a radical relational approach. The belief that people are kept in the memories of God offers the only adequate description and approach to dementia. This review will present Swinton’s argument and raise critical questions about his understanding of the hegemonic role of theology.

Author Biography

  • Frits de Lange, Protestant Theological University

    Frits de Lange is Professor of Ethics at the Protestant Theological University.


Barth, K. (1957) Church Dogmatics II/2, trans. G. W. Bromiley. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Kitwood, T. (1997) Dementia Reconsidered: The Person Comes First. Berkshire & New York: Open University Press.

Sabat, S. R. (2001) The Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease: Life through a Tangled Veil. Oxford: Blackwell.

Rozelle-Stone, A. R., and L. Stone (2013) Simone Weil and Theology. London: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark.

Swinton, J. (2012) Dementia: Living in the Memories of God. Grand Rapids, MI & Cambridge: Eerdmans.



How to Cite

de Lange, F. (2016). Deterritorializing Dementia: A Review Essay of John Swinton’s Dementia: Living in the Memories of God. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 4(2), 168-179.