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Rethinking Autism, Rethinking Anthropology: Special Issue of Ethos

In the latest issue of Ethos, guest edited by Olga Solomon and Nancy Bagatell, contributors consider autism from interdisciplinary, ethnographic  perspectives rather than the dominant biomedical discourses, and encourage the rethinking of social engagement for those affected by autism, as well as their families and therapists.

Contributors to the issue include Sharon Kaufman, who considers the debate about autism and vaccine safety (“Regarding the Rise in Autism: Vaccine Safety Doubt, Conditions of Inquiry, and the Shape of Freedom”); Dawn Eddings Prince, who provides an emic or “native” point of view, sharing her experience as an anthropologist with Asperger’s Syndrome and illustrating autism as a different way of being, rather than merely a medical condition (“An Exceptional Path: An Ethnographic Narrative Reflecting on Autistic Parenthood from Evolutionary, Cultural, and Spiritual Perspectives”); and Solomon, who studies the dynamics of child-dog-other interactions that demonstrate how specially trained dogs can mediate the social interactions of autistic children (“What a Dog Can Do: Children with Autism and Therapy Dogs in Social Interaction”).

According to the guest editors in their introduction, “the collected articles encourage readers to rethink autism by embracing its complexity, from the personal experience of those diagnosed with autism and their families to issues of healthcare and educational policy.” Contributors come from different disciplines, but “they share a vision of autism as social constructed across institutional, ideological, sociohistorical, and social-interactional contexts,” which the editors argue “demarcate[s] a new interdisciplinary domain of inquiry that examines autism as a contestable and contested sociocultural as well as biomedical construct.”

A full list of the issue’s articles on autism follow. As always, articles may be accessed via Anthrosource for AAA members, or Wiley-Interscience for non-AAA members:

  Introduction: Autism: Rethinking the Possibilities
Olga Solomon, Nancy Bagatell
Abstract
  Regarding the Rise in Autism: Vaccine Safety Doubt, Conditions of Inquiry, and the Shape of Freedom
Sharon R. Kaufman
Abstract
  From Cure to Community: Transforming Notions of Autism
Nancy Bagatell
Abstract
  An Exceptional Path: An Ethnographic Narrative Reflecting on Autistic Parenthood from Evolutionary, Cultural, and Spiritual Perspectives
Dawn Eddings Prince
Abstract
  Autistic Sociality
Elinor Ochs, Olga Solomon
Abstract
  Narratives of Distinction: Personal Life Narrative as a Technology of the Self in the Everyday Lives and Relational Worlds of Children with Autism
Karen Gainer Sirota
Abstract
  “How to Go On”: Intersubjectivity and Progressivity in the Communication of a Child with Autism
Laura Sterponi, Alessandra Fasulo
Abstract
  What a Dog Can Do: Children with Autism and Therapy Dogs in Social Interaction
Olga Solomon
Abstract
   Commentary: Autism and Anthropology?
Mary C. Lawlor
Abstract
   Commentary: On Being Autistic, and Social
Roy Richard Grinker
Abstract

Still want more on the anthropology of autism? Check out these articles from AAA journal archives:

Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism—A Father, a Daughter, and a Search for New Answers by Harold L. Odden in American Anthropologist, Volume 111, Issue 1 (March 2009) Pages: 117-118

Making Scenes by Melissa Park in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Volume 22, Issue 3 (September 2008) Pages: 234-256

Studying Autism Cross-Culturally by Gretchen Bakke in Anthropology News, Volume 46, Issue 7 (October 2005) Pages: 33-33

2 Responses

  1. This is a helpful announcement. Thank you AAA.

  2. [...] Looking for more information on autism? Check out the Ethos issue on Rethinking Autism, Rethinking Anthropology. [...]

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