A critical phenomenology of autistic lived experience
In my research project, I focus on what has been narratively and theoretically pushed to the margins of autistic lived experience, namely embodiment and affect. That is, stigmatised conceptions tend to portray autism as a disaffected and disembodied retreating into the mind and away from the social. “Disaffected” in this context refers to a perceived lack in emotion, feeling, expression, being moved and moving.
The term “affectivity” therefore refers to a very broad domain which is perhaps or perhaps not to be distinguished from “emotion”. Sometimes these conceptions even characterise autistic people as failing in what they see as basic human capabilities or the distinctive feature of human communities, such as empathy. In cultural imagination as well as scientific knowledge production, there are also occasionally explicitly dehumanising comparisons between autistics and aliens as well as between autistics and robots. Moreover, the view of autism as disaffected and disembodied is embedded in historically formed Western dichotomies between mind/body, nature/culture, reason/emotion, active/passive, modern/subaltern.
How can these histories of approaching autism as disembodied and disaffected be articulated and challenged? And what can be learned about the normativities which pathologize minds, bodies, and affects if we approach them from a starting point in autistic lived experiences?
Previously, I took the research master’s in Philosophy at Radboud University (specialisation in Philosophical Anthropology) and a bachelor’s in Philosophy at the University of Groningen (specialisation in Ethics, and Social & Political Philosophy), The Netherlands.
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