In constant encounter with one’s environment: Presenting counter-metaphors in the study of the discourse of autism and negotiations of space in literature and visual culture
This thesis is concerned with the discourse of autism and negotiations of space in literary and visual culture. Here, 'autism' is not a mental disorder that can be read in textual and visual vocabulary, but is a discourse that is constructed within the literary and cinematic means that a cultural object offers. The thesis explores the occurrence of pathologized language in several case studies that cover film, documentaries, memoirs, and YouTube videos. Autism is considered as a concept that one ‘does’ in literary and visual culture through speech act and that can be studied with the help of semiotics. It also introduces the notion of ‘atopos’ as a counter-metaphor, parallel to the Old Greek word ‘autos’ on which the term ‘autism’ is based. The counter-metaphor helps to formulate a thorough reading of negotiations of space by autistic characters as phenomenological subjects and opens up opportunities for! future r esearch and activism.
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