An association for all: notions of the meaning of autistic self-advocacy politics within a parent-dominated autistic movement

Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna and Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay (2015) An association for all: notions of the meaning of autistic self-advocacy politics within a parent-dominated autistic movement. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 25 (3). pp. 219-231. ISSN 1052-9284


In this paper, we seek to explore the tensions between advocacy and self advocacy autistic movements in a Swedish context with a special focus on the meanings that enable the production of particular understandings of autism and the autistic subject. Drawing on articles written for the Swedish advocacy magazine Empowerment written for and by people with autism, the discourse analysis explores two competing discourses: a reformist and a radical. The reformist discourse underlines a goal of (political) representation expressed in Empowerment. It may be understood as an important part of producing a legitimate autistic political subject-positioned as a full member, with a full membership-within a parent-dominated autistic advocacy movement. The reformist discourse can be viewed as a result of a negotiation, where full membership is conditioned on the parents' terms and granted on specific terms. These include working together (neuro-inclusively), advocacy based on interest rather than identity/position as a specific target/member group, agreement upon a definition of autism as a disability (a deficit) a person has rather than an identity. In relation to this, an alternative legitimate autistic subject is produced through invoking the counter-hegemonic radical discourse. Such a narrative produces the 'Asperger' or 'Aspie'. Here, the 'full membership' refers to a sense of identification with sense of belonging to and being at home with other people with autism. It contains a certain amount of autistic solidarity within the group of adults with autism.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2015 00:37
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 02:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: Asperger syndrome; autism; identity; parents; self-advocacy
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160508 Health Policy
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170205 Neurocognitive Patterns and Neural Networks
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920208 Health Policy Evaluation
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1002/casp.2210

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