Autistic Company


Social interactions of autistic and non-autistic persons are intriguing. In all sorts of situations people with autism are part of the daily life of those around them. Such interactions exist despite the lack of familiar ways of attuning to one another. In Autistic Company, the anthropologist and philosopher Ruud Hendriks—himself trained as a care worker for young people with autism—investigates what alternative means are sometimes found by autistic and non-autistic people to establish a shared existence. Unprecedented in scholarly work on autism, the book also reflects on how to talk about these unusual ways of getting on together. Drawing on methods from both the arts and the social sciences, this study covers very diverse sources, ranging from literary works to factual writing on autism in science and advisory literature, and from autobiographical accounts to ethnographic observations in a home for autistic people.
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Biographical Note

Originally trained as a professional care worker specialising in cognitive disabilities and autism, Ruud Hendriks (1961) is now Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Maastricht University, the Netherlands. His research covers cultural perspectives on cognitive disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Dementia in particular. His scholarly work on autism has been awarded with the Praemium Erasmianum of the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences.

Review Quote

"Putting familiar concepts to a test, Autistic Company wrenches and fiddles with the very distinctions that constitute our sense of self. By doing so, Hendriks succeeds in getting closer both to autistic and non-autistic extremes, showing how thin the division between us and them really is." – L.W. Nauta, in: Krisis

Table of contents

Introduction. A Mixture of the Strange and the Familiar
Given Reality. Autism - Facts and Figures
Classification and Diagnostics
Behaviour and Development
Explaining Autism
Beyond Facts and Figures
On Stage. The Autist, the Author, his Characters and their Props
Vallende ster - a Reconstruction
Philosophical Intent
Representation by Delegation
Following the Trail
Body and Mind Shows. The Imagination Deficit, Theory of Mind and Atmospheric Turbulence
Inside the Mind: Researching Autism as Mind Blindness
Exploring Extra-Mental Forms of Imagination
Past the Blind Spots
On Words and Clocks. The Socialisation Deficit and Temporal Ordering in a Community for Young Autists
The Art of Waiting
Objects as Temporal Nodes
More than Convention
With Lacelike Precision. The Communication Deficit and Autobiographical Works by Autistic People
Listening to the Autistic Voice
A Look Through the Window
How Should We Read an Autist’s Autobiography?
Fitting Words
Exploring the Wasteland
Autistic Company
Notes and Bibliography


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