Constructing Autism : Where is the Knowledge?
Merrill, Leland Harrison Rene
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This study is an investigation of the production of knowledge in regards to autism, a concept that has been a topic of socio-medical debate since its beginning research in the 1940s. The author looks at relations between scientific and cultural actors to examine the ways in which new knowledge can be stalled, disrupted, promoted or expedited due to the various forms of power at work. Looking at the many methodological shifts -- psychoanalytic, genetic genomic -- as well as discursive -- "disease," "disorder," "curable," neurodiverse" -- this study examines why no unanimous consensus has been given to what autism is, what causes it, or how to best move forward. Through narrative analysis with people both on and off the spectrum of autism, the author investigates first-hand accounts that speak to these issues which are both deeply personal as well as political.