Autism, phenomenology and the normative context of lived experience
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In the article, I evaluate phenomenological accounts of autism as a distinct kind of intersubjectivity, based on ethical concerns raised by the neurodiversity movement and a critical phenomenological approach. The enactive and the developmental present autism as a “disturbed” bodily being with others. The neurodiversity movement contests the assumption that autism is inherently pathological and challenges the biomedical model of autism. In relation to classic phenomenology, critical phenomenology places a larger emphasis on ways in which contingent historical and social structures shape our experience. While the enactive and the developmental account question certain aspects of the biomedical model of autism, I argue they apply the “norm of normalcy” and re-naturalise the assumption of pathology into their account. Consequently, to resolve the aforementioned problem, phenomenological research on autism needs to incorporate intersectional autistic lived experiences and examine them given their normative and social context in the historically constituted lifeworld.
Faculteit der Filosofie, Theologie en Religiewetenschappen