Temporal agency: Patterns, accounts and representations of old age and mental illness in graphic novels
Andreea Elena Iancu 
|Abstract: This research investigates how time work and agency are represented in graphic media that discusses mental illness associated with ageing. It focuses on how elders and their caregivers perform time work, what are their specific actions in manipulating their time experience and for what purpose, and how agency and time work are connected. This study is based only on representation of time work and agency in the corpus of selected media. The research method for this study is thematic content analysis of a corpus consisting of contemporary graphic novels. By crossing Michael Flaherty’s five dimensions of time work with Hitlin and Elder’s four types of agency, two separate patterns were created, one that observes daily activities and one that observes activities that are planned for the future. The selected graphic media, published between 2006 and 2016, discusses ageing and diseases associated with ageing, focusing on the social implications that derive from the process, that are reflected upon individuals and their close ones. Results showed that both types of characters, patients and caregivers, perform time work in order to postpone activities and life events, and that time work influences how characters lose agency and ultimately, regain it in a different form.
Keywords: Graphic media; Caregiving; Alzheimer’s; Mental illness; Dementia; Ageing; Older adults; Seniors; Time work; Time perception; Agency;
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