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‘Filling in the gaps’: A micro-sociological analysis of autism

Milton, Damian (2013) ‘Filling in the gaps’: A micro-sociological analysis of autism. Autonomy, the Critical Journal of Interdisciplinary Autism Studies, 1 (2). E-ISSN 2051-5189. (KAR id:62634)


When reviewing research related to autism, it is clear that it is dominated by biological and psychological concerns, with autism being defined as a developmental deviance, dysfunction, and deficit. Much of this research assumes a functionalist philosophy regarding deviations from statistical norms as pathological and in need of remediation. This research feeds into a hegemonic view of what constitutes ‘normalcy’, with critical social explanations being lost under the sheer mass of research from this viewpoint. Despite the ascendency of this functionalist philosophy, there is a growing concern regarding listening to ‘autistic voices’ from a phenomenological perspective (Biklen, 2005) and with regards to the wider social construction of autism (Nadesan, 2005; Timini et al. 2011). However, the study of autism on a micro-sociological level has been given precious little attention. This paper utilises the theories of Garfinkel (1967) and Goffman (1955, 1959, 1963, 1974) in particular, in order to question current ways of perceiving autism, highlighting issues concerning social interactions involving autistic people, and the stigma of autism, as well as deconstructing the ‘myth’ of a ‘lack of empathy’ (Baron-Cohen, 2008; 2011).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Normalcy, micro-sociology, stigma, empathy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC553.A88 Autism. Asperger's syndrome
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Damian Milton
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 05:06 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2022 11:58 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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