Dementia, Distributed Interactional Competence and Social Membership


Journal of Aging Studies




The article analyzes how a person with dementia playing a guitar collaborates with other people in a joint activity. The analysis shows that a person with dementia may gain social membership in a group of persons with and without dementia through social interaction, collaboration, scaffolding and use of material anchors. It shows that interactional skills as well as skills as guitar player are not only products of a mind-body system, but also a product of collaboration between different actors with different participant statuses in a particular situation. The guitar player's mind emerges in the social context of the joint activity and scaffolding. Scaffolding comes from interactive moves from the other participants without dementia and from the guitar. The guitar represents a material anchor. It is a tool for participation, experiences of pleasure, and coping, but it is also a challenge that requires management of face threatening events.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Coping; Elderly; Engagement Level; Interpersonal Relations; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Playing an Instrument; Recreative Music Methods

Indexed Terms

Cooperative Behavior; Dementia; Interpersonal Relations; Norway; Pleasure; Collaboration; Dementia; Interaction; Material anchor; Scaffolding; Social membership

Study Type

Editorial, Opinions, Position Papers

PubMed ID


Document Type