Publication details

The automata and the geek. Narratives of "autism" between the body politic and the subjectivity of cognitive science



Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description COMMUNICATION TITLE: The automata and the geek. Narratives of "autism" between the body politic and the subjectivity of cognitive Science ABSTRACT: Among the recurring metaphors and analogies in the characterization of 'autism', those drawn from the field of technology are prevalent (Hacking 2009, Draaisma 2009, Osteen ed. 2010, Richardson 2016, Pinchevski and Peters 2016). Their use ranges across different genres and discursive groupings (psychiatry texts, computer and engineering manuals, novels, comics). Instead of homogenizing the use of such metaphors by placing them on a plane of continuity or progression, we would like to investigate their irreducible differences and derive, on the basis of these, the distinctive scientific-political discourse they bear and reproduce (or, eventually, seek to resist, oppose, criticize or subvert). For the first historical series that we will compile (starting from the very first diagnosis of 'autism', i.e. from the second half of the 1940), we will show how, in the watermark to these analogies, it is the discourse of the ‘body politic’ (Haraway 1978) that becomes manifest. As for, in contrast, the series approaching our contemporary ground (i.e. roughly since the 1990s), the analysis would sit within a more general hypothesis. The hypothesis to be discussed is that metaphors conceived as heuristic at the dawn of the different disciplines forming the composite field of cognitive science (e.g. the electronic communication network as the neural network; the computational affective modeling as the treatment of ‘social and communicational deficits’) have created unitary fields through the effect of recursive cross-references between ‘discursive formations’(Foucault 1972). These formations, guided by engineering, managerial and business strategies - whose biopolitical background is not concealed - have now formed objects that have become consolidated and ontologized through their pervasiveness in different types of practices. Reconstructing the time and place of their emergence means acquiring partial and situated historical knowledge as a critical tool.
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