Buying time: The S/pace of Advocacy and the Cultural Production of Autism
Keywords:autism, development, neoliberalism, capitalism, commodification, advocacy, temporality, futurity
AbstractThis paper addresses contemporary neoliberal time and its normative understanding of developmental time. As autism is framed as a growing risk to the ‘good life’ of neoliberal development, autism advocacy emerges as that which must neutralize this risk by targeting individual bodies and minds to secure ‘better’ (i.e., more normative) futures for all. I ask: how is the space and pace of advocacy working to constitute the relational subjectivities of both the ‘advocate’ and the ‘advocated for’? I examine and analyze two cultural artifacts: one mundane (a special series Starbucks coffee cup aimed at raising autism awareness) and the other spectacular (the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day resolution). I read these artifacts as prolific, productive and powerful sites of meaning making that shape collective experiences of the passing of time (i.e., as either too slow or too fast) as well as our understandings of bodies in time (i.e., as being either ‘on time’ or ‘late’).
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