Autism & Society

As reinforced in Gregory Hollin’s Autism, Sociality, and Human Nature, society has recently taken a high interest in autism. This interest is due to many factors including an increase of diagnoses. This increase in individuals on the autistim spectrum has sparked a curiosity surrounding this mental illness. As stated in the article, “Over the past thirty years autism has become an all-pervasive cultural experience.” Autism can be seen everywhere in today’s society. For example, the book “Born on a Blue Day,” written by an autistic savant, and the movie “Rain Man,” were both popular in the media.

Today it is widely believed that individuals on the autism spectrum are inable to conform to their respected culture’s social. Culture norms in this sense can easily be tied into anthropological thinking, and this is precisely what Gregory Hollin explores in his writing. In order to explore this, Hollin first defines today’s definition of “ the social.” Social involves not only interacting and being able to perceive what others think about you, but it also involves individual cognitive processes such as being able to feel empathy for others. These types of emotions come from within an individual as opposed to from experiences and peers.

In contrast, interactions and experiences do influence the social of a specific culture. Furthermore, the social in different cultures is never the same, so we can apply anthropological thinking. What is considered a social norm in one culture may be considered taboo in another. In other words, different cultures may interpret and define autism in different ways.


One thought on “Autism & Society

  1. As the sister of a child with autism, I was really interested in this post. I agree that autism is becoming much more widely discussed as the years go on. However, like you said, there is a good reason for this. The odds of a child being born with autism go up every year (the odds are now about 1 in 68), so as a result more knowledge must be dispersed. While I agree that culture can definitely play a part in the interpretation of the disability, I believe that a person’s individual upbringing and general knowledge on the subject have more to do with it.

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