The Role of Autism in Shaping Society
By John Lawson
Routledge – 2010 – 112 pages
The topic of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs) has received much attention in recent years. This book expands on a new cognitive theory which argues that what we see in autism is an extreme form of a tendency that exists in all people, and furthermore, that this tendency is stronger in males. Given the influence that males have had in shaping (western) society it begs the question - how has this greater tendency in males manifested in the social structures, norms and values that structure our society?
This is the first book to explore how this inclination towards autism in the general population has shaped the society we live in. The Role of Autism in Shaping Society has three main areas of focus. In the first section, the author looks at the conditions that make up the autism spectrum in terms of characteristics, diagnosis and prevalence. In the second section, he discusses the problematic issue of how we should conceptualize the spectrum, and develops his new theory to provide a more comprehensive explanation of the condition. The final section explores the implications of this new theory on the social structures within which we live our daily lives.
This accessible book combines perspectives from psychiatry, psychology, philosophy and sociology to provide one of the most encompassing and enlightening accounts of the autism spectrum to date. It will be of interest to researchers, psychologists, and anyone affected by the autism spectrum. It will also be useful for students of psychiatry, philosophy of science, sociology and feminism.
The Autism Spectrum. Cognitive Explanations. The Depth Accessibility Difficulties Model. Experimental Support for the DAD Model. Implications on the Psychological Level. Implications on the Societal Level. Key Areas in More Depth. Conclusions
John Lawson is a senior research associate at the Autism Research Centre within the University of Cambridge. He is also a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and the Director of Studies for Social Science at Girton College Cambridge.
For the past seven years he has been working with Simon Baron-Cohen on issues related to the cognitive conceptualization of autism and its extension into the general population.