Foucault and Autism

Filed Under (Critical Disability Theory) by Estee on 09-10-2013

In my work now on theory, I am sharing this wonderful lecture: A Critical Intro to Foucault.

“The search for styles of existence as different as possible from one another appears to me one of the points on which contemporary research within particular groups can start. The search for a form of morality which would be acceptable to everyone – in the sense that everyone must submit to it – appears catastrophic to me.” Michel Foucault, 1984.

There’s a lot to unpack from Foucault (see Parekh’s, A conversation on madness: Foucault and Ripa in Disability & Society, 2012), but the work is substantial in our understanding of history, historicism and difference; there’s a lot to think about with regards to power, the state and the rehabilitation industry and the monolithic possibilities from diagnostic labeling. I’m currently concerned about an autism culture created in response to the medical model, and the dialectical loop this might create for the “autistic” community. It might be more “liberating” (Foucault) to move to cross-disability issues while also intertwining them with human issues of freedom (a big word) vs. control and power. Happy watching:

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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.