Thesis ID: CBB182457652

Making a Modern French Autism: Constructing the Aspie (2023)


Condemned by international governing bodies like the United Nations, France has long been in the spotlight for a previous psychoanalytic approach to autism, and for a lack of educational opportunities and support services for autistic people and their families. Advocacy from parents’ associations and more recently autistic self-advocates has resulted in the state’s ongoing efforts at modernizing the country’s approach to the condition. This context has led to the emergence of a local autism category: the French aspie. Through an ethnographic exploration of one national initiative: l’université Aspie-Friendly (The Aspie-Friendly University), a government-funded project focused on the inclusion of university students with autism spectrum diagnoses into the French public university system, this dissertation examines the portrayal of the aspie as belonging to a category which can be integrated into French society. It also considers the aspie category’s sometimes complicated relationship to broader categories like autism and disability while exploring how the aspie is constructed, and sometimes contested, through design processes, the embrace and careful curation of certain cognitive psychological theories of autism, and the creation and circulation of media. Simultaneous with the construction of the aspie category, university students labelled aspies are building a complex infrastructure, one that is playing a vital role in making the French university system more inclusive of multiple forms of difference.

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Authors & Contributors
Bragesjö, Fredrik
Cahn, Susan K.
Feinstein, Noah Weeth
Graf, Rüdiger
Hallberg, Margareta
Morris, Sharon
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Journal of American Culture
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Public Understanding of Science
Science in Context
Beacon Press
Duke University Press
Oxford University Press
University of Maryland, College Park
United States International University
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Disabilities; disability; accessibility
Mental disorders and diseases
Public health
Down, John Langdon Haydon
Park, Clara Claiborne
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Great Britain
La Fédération québécoise de l’autisme

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