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Constructing Autism : Unravelling the 'Truth' and Understanding the Social - Majia Holmer Nadesan

Constructing Autism

Unravelling the 'Truth' and Understanding the Social

Paperback

Published: 28th July 2005
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Autism is now considered to be one of the most common developmental disorders, yet 100 years ago it did not exist. What historical and social events enabled autism to be identified as a distinct disorder in the early twentieth century? How have changing paradigms of understanding shaped expert knowledge about autism?
The dramatic increase in diagnoses of autism has paralleled a huge increase in scientific research. At the same time a wide range of information about autism, directed towards popular audiences, is disseminated by the media. Underlying both scientific and popular representations is a premise that autism is a disorder for which we will ultimately find a cure through the ceaseless efforts of scientific enquiry. This quest has inevitably entailed a reductionist search for the origins of the disorder.
In"" "Constructing Autism," Majia Holmer Nadesan, herself the mother of an autistic child, argues that although there is without doubt a biogenetic component to the condition we call autism, it is the social factors involved in its identification, interpretation and remediation that determine what it means to be autistic. This book explores the social practices and institutions that reflect and shape the way we think about autism and what effects this has on autistic people and their families. She unravels what appears to be the 'truth' about autism, stepping behind the history of its emergence as a modern disorder to see how it has become a crisis of twenty first century child development.
This innovative text provides a welcome counter-balance to the predominantly medical and scientific literature on autism, and will be invaluable for anyone studying autistic disorders, child development and child health, modern public health issues and other areas of medical sociology, psychology and health studies.

'Majia Holmer Nadesan...brings a welcome sociological and historical perspective to her thoughtful and thought-provoking survey of current controversies.' - Michael Fitzpatrick, GP

Acknowledgementsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Constructing autism: a dialectic of biology and culture, nature and mindp. 9
Diagnosing autism: classical readings and contemporary nosologiesp. 10
Disease and representationp. 19
Constructing autism in the twentieth centuryp. 26
Psychiatric niche conditionsp. 29
Setting the stage: the history of madnessp. 30
Normality and pathology: dividing nineteenth-century populationsp. 31
Children and madnessp. 45
The history of childhood: ontologies, institutional divisions, child saving and child guidancep. 53
The emergence of the child: constituting childhood, formalizing educationp. 55
Educating children, dividing children, sequestering childrenp. 60
Child guidance, child psychiatry, and new categories of childhood pathologyp. 64
Identifying niche conditionsp. 70
Psychological discourses construct autismp. 80
The rise of psychoanalysis 1940-1960: the Zeitgeist of the timesp. 82
Psychoanalysis and autism in English-speaking countries: ego psychology and the mother-infant relationshipp. 87
The rise of the cognitive paradigm: 1970-2004p. 103
Autism and cognitive psychologyp. 114
Cognitive constructions: problematic assumptions and alien modelsp. 125
Conclusions on psychological constructions of autism: looking back at the twentieth centuryp. 132
Biogenetic approaches construct autismp. 138
Biological psychiatry and geneticization: the cultural Zeitgeistp. 140
Autism: the search for causal agentsp. 148
Concluding thoughts on the search for causal agentsp. 172
The dialects of autism: theorizing autism, performing autism, remediating autism, and resisting autismp. 179
Theorizing disease/disablement: autism as socially constructedp. 180
Identifying autism, treating autism, experiencing autismp. 185
Identity politics and autism advocacyp. 203
Concluding thoughts: autism as disease/disablement, difference, and geniusp. 210
Directions in the ontology of personhood: the new genetics, genomics, and opportunities for somatic subjectsp. 214
Referencesp. 223
Indexp. 243
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415321815
ISBN-10: 0415321816
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 28th July 2005
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.32 x 16.05  x 1.25
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1