Autism and the Question of the Human.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Bergenmar, Jenny; Rosqvist, Hanna Bertilsdotter; Lönngren, Ann-Sofie
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Lit Med
Volume: 33
Issue: 1
Pagination: 202-21
Date Published: 2015 Spring
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 0278-9671
Keywords: Autistic Disorder, Cognition, Emotions, Humans, Literature, Modern, Male, Medicine in Literature

The article explores how normative notions of emotions and interaction are active in constructions of the categories of "human" and "animal" in different discourses about autism: scientific and autobiographical. In the scientific discourse of autistic emotionality, a deficit perspective of autism is central. The general affective deficit discourse relies on normative discursive notions of "humanity" or "human emotionality." Thus, neurotypicals are produced as real "humans" and neurotypical emotionality as "normal" human emotionality. This human normativity is challenged in the Swedish autobiographical texts by Gunilla Gerland (b. 1963), Iris Johansson (b. 1945) and Immanuel Brändemo (b. 1980). Along with American authors of autobiographies about autism, such as Temple Grandin's Thinking in Pictures (1995) and Dawn Prince-Hughes' Songs of the Gorilla Nation (2004) they destabilize the categories of "human" and "animal" by identifying with nonhuman animals, describing themselves as such, or feeling disqualified as real humans.

DOI: 10.1353/lm.2015.0009
Alternate Journal: Lit Med
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