Surviving the Margins: Care, Social Death, and Possibility among the Elderly Urban Poor in Lima, Peru


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Grounded in rigorous ethnographic fieldwork in a dilapidated home for the elderly in central Lima,
“Surviving the Margins” examines the life-worlds and subjective experiences of one of the most neglected and understudied population of Peruvian society: the abandoned elderly urban-poor. This dissertation explores the fractures, intricacies, and subtleness of everyday survival at the end of life in a context of precarious care, institutional disregard, and emotional deprivation. “Survival” refers to the quotidian yet significant acts that some of these individuals can—to some extent— undertake in order to remain recognized in a society that renders them non-existent. This project, therefore, is concerned with how the destitute elderly in Lima strive to preserve their humanity in an environment of perpetual loss and material deterioration.