Neoliberal, Marxist, and Intersectional Justice approaches to Neurodiversity
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
A black and white photo of the head and shoulders of a statue of Karl Marx staring into the distance. Copyright: wal_172619/Pixabay Three Approaches I’ve written before about how the concept of neurodiversity means different things to different people (see here and here). I want to build on this by thinking through some different approaches to neurodiversity advocacy. This should be seen as a first attempt to clarify these different approaches rather than the final word. The three quasi-sociological categories I propose are Neoliberal Neurodiversity, Marxist Neurodiversity, and Intersectional ..read more
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Simon Baron-Cohen, Neurodiversity-lite, and the History of Eugenic Thought
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
Sir Francis Galton by Charles Wellington Furse, given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1954. [A middle-aged white man wearing a suit, sitting at a desk that has an open book on it] In recent days a lot has been written about the Spectrum 10k project, which seeks to develop an autism DNA database that will then be shared with other researchers. The focus of discussion has been on how many autistic people are worried by the very real threat of eugenics. Among other issues, many autistics have expressed concerns about the Principle Investigator, Simon Baron-Cohen, a professor at the ..read more
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The Unselected
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
Geralt/Pixabay To explain why I identify as ‘unselected’, it will help to begin with an imaginary (if all too familiar) scenario: Well-meaning But Problematic Neurotypical Researcher, Professor of Controversial Ideas at the University of OxBridge, stumbles across a demonstration by Neurodivergent Neurodiversity proponents, where activists are raising awareness through a megaphone. First, he hears a bit about how scientific ableism has routinely portrayed Neurodivergent cognition as inherently deficient maladaptions, or broken mechanisms, and as a threat to Neuronormative Supremacy. A bit late ..read more
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Executive Functioning as Ideology
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
Someone with good executive functioning, probably. Copyright: Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay Executive function is a general umbrella term for various cognitive functions, most notably those related to planning, impulse control, working memory, and for monitoring action. Executive dysfunction, by contrast, is a term used to describe cases where executive functioning of the individual seems to have broken down in some sense, leading to impaired functioning in day to day life. I am interested in executive malfunctioning because it is associated with neurodivergence more broadly rather than a specific di ..read more
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Neoliberalism and the Biopolitics of Psychological Formulation
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
The Scream (1893), a painting by Edvard Munch expressing feelings potentially in need of formulation. In recent years, a variety of medical professionals who often identify as ‘critical’ psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists seem to have reached a consensus. This holds that psychiatric diagnosis is scientifically invalid and harmful, and that person-centred psychological formulation should take the place of diagnosis. This has become especially influential in the UK, where large, mainstream professional bodies such as the British Psychological Society and the Critical Psychia ..read more
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Pathological demand avoidance: Individual, societal, or both?
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
Theodor Adorno I wrote recently about Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). In particular, I focused on the possibility of reclaiming PDA as a positive label, arguing that while worries about the role of bio-politics in the construction of PDA are legitimate, existing analyses may nonetheless have overlooked the positive possibility and actuality of reclaiming PDA. My argument emphasised how Milton’s notion that PDA could be seen as an expression of autistic agency might be taken as supporting the PDA identity rather than undermining it. I did this by looking at PDA as a kind of resistance to ..read more
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Do Neurotypicals Have Intact Moral Agency?
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
Geralt/Pixabay Do autistics have intact moral agency? A claim forwarded in Deborah Barnbaum’s book The Ethics of Autism (and echoed by several other philosophers and psychologists) is that we don’t. On this analysis, neurotypicals are presumed to have intact moral agency.  By contrast, it is argued that autistics are comparatively less capable of ethical comportment and decision making, and thus that we aren’t full moral agents. While there’s a few variations of this argument, the basic reasoning typically goes something like this: 1)     autistic individuals have an ..read more
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Mad Autistics
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
FotoEmotions/Pixabay I regularly come across individuals with intersecting neurodivergent disabilities. For instance, its very common to find autistics who are learning disabled, dyslexics with ADHD, and so forth. But one intersection I very rarely see are mad autistics, but which I mean individuals who identify as both autistic and mad. This seemingly elusive intersection is particularly important to consider given the common goals of the neurodivesity movement (which has mainly focused on autism and other developmental disabilities), and the mad pride movement (which often focuses around c ..read more
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Pride, Pathology, and Prejudice: the bio-politics of PDA
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
Photo credit: gagnonma1993/pixabay   The Emergence of PDA The term Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) was coined by child psychologist Elizabeth Newson in the 1980s to indicate a previously-unnoticed developmental disability. On the one hand, she had increasingly found that the then popular term “atypical autism” was unhelpfully vague for clinical practice.  What’s more, she kept noticing an as yet undocumented profile that was similar to autism, but which was specifically associated with anxiety regarding the “ordinary demands” of everyday life. Based on her identification of thi ..read more
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The Eugenicist Origins of Autism Prior to Hans Asperger
Critical Neurodiversity
by radicalneurodiversity
1y ago
I’ve recently seen lots of autistic people rejecting the term “Asperger’s” because it is associated with Hans Asperger, who some researchers think was knowingly complicit in Nazi eugenics (although others have more recently contested this, based on newly translated evidence). The general move has been to use “autistic” instead of “Asperger’s”, to shift away from associations with Hans Asperger. I am sympathetic to dropping “Asperger’s” in favour of “autism”. This is mainly because the separation is divisive for the autistic community, and since functioning labels are often unhelpful and dehum ..read more
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