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Off to autscape, musings on our "tribe"

Posted Aug 23 2008 10:50pm

Had to be careful not to recycle an older title , but I am back to the subject of autism again for this blog.

For the last two years Autscape has either been preceded by or followed by an operation, this year I have far more to worry about on my return :)

Not that being part of the organising committee for Autscape this year has been the proverbial bed of roses either. How previous participants (as against new ones for whom it won’t matter) will adapt to the change of venue, I don’t know. It remains to be seen.

The trouble is nothing is without criticism, and this blog is not the place to rehash all of the various concerns about the venue, and about the ethos of Autscape, whether it should be outward or inward looking, been there done that and got the T shirt as they say. Suffice it to say I sometimes find myself in the middle, defending against unfair criticisms, but adding a few of my own. Nothing is ever perfect and we should always be striving for what is most important is that there are enough people willing to continue with it in whatever form the future dictates.

The theme is Inertia and Action, and sometimes I feel I am too much stuck in the former, I know that when I get back I have to spring into action again and finish off all those half finished presentations I am due to make in September notwithstanding trying to wrestle up some money to continue my research, without which these presentations might suddenly lose their context.

Where the big money in Autism is, is certainly not where I am at anyway, educational approaches to autism get overlooked, and the new black is going to be cultural studies, where yet another strand of non autistic academics find rich picking studying all those funny autistic "tribes".

I ought to have welcomed Stuart Murray's book on the representation of autism , but I do not, because well researched though it may be, it is part of a wider economic/social process of marginalisation which I have fought even to get a toehold in academia myself. Every book that is written about us by someone else is one less book written from within.

Why don’t I write a book myself, I hear the protest back, well it has to do with the fact that the likes of Stuart Murray , and Roy Grinker and dare I say it Kristina Chew (whose blog I nonetheless enjoy), have effectively colonised the genre wherein I would write.

I mean no disrespect to these academic writers but I do say to them that they ought to carry a bit more social awareness of what they are doing in the process, how it is part of the delegitimisation of the authentic voice, pushing us back to the familiar territory of writing self help manuals and autobiographies, instead of engaging the vital material of autism and where we fit in the contemporary world itself.
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