The Autism Industrial Complex

The Autism Industrial Complex Summary

Autism—a concept that barely existed 75 years ago—currently feeds multiple, multi-billion-dollar-a-year, global industries.

In The Autism Industrial Complex: How Branding, Marketing, and Capital Investment Turned Autism into Big Business, Alicia A. Broderick analyzes how we got from the 11 children first identified by Leo Kanner in 1943 as “autistic” to the billion-dollar autism industries that are booming today. Broderick argues that, within the Autism Industrial Complex (AIC), almost anyone can capitalize on—and profit from—autism, and she also shows us how. The AIC has not always been there: it was built, conjured, created, manufactured, produced, not out of thin air, but out of ideologies, rhetorics, branding, business plans, policy lobbying, media saturation, capital investment, and the bodies of autistic people. Broderick excavates the 75-year-long history of the concept of autism, and shows us how the AIC—and indeed, autism today—can only be understood within capitalism itself. The Autism Industrial Complex is essential reading for a wide variety of audiences, from autistic activists, to professionals in the autism industries, to educators, to parents, to graduate students in public policy, (special) education, psychology, economics, and rhetoric.

Perfect for courses such as: Introduction to Critical Autism Studies; Disability Studies--Theory, Policy, Practice; Disability & Rhetoric; Disability & Cultural Studies; Doctoral Seminar in Disability Studies; Cultural Foundations of Disability in Education

Foreword – Anne McGuire

Part I: Forging The Autism Industrial Complex: Manufacturing Foundational Commodities (1943–1987)

1. Autism, Inc.: The Autism Industrial Complex
by Alicia A. Broderick and Robin Roscigno

2. Consuming Autism as Social Problem and the Cultural Logic of Intervention
by Alicia A. Broderick and Robin Roscigno

Part II: (Re)Branding and Marketing the AIC: Manufacturing Markets, Consumers, & Consumer Confidence (1987–present)

3. Rhetoric and Neoliberalism: On (Re)Branding and Consuming Hope

4. The Politics of Hope: Autism and “Recovery [to Normalcy]”

5. The Politics of Truth: Deploying Scientism in ABA Rhetoric

6. The Politics of Fear: The Fires that Forged the Economic Apparatus of the AIC

Part III: The Economic Apparatus of the AIC: Incorporation, Legislation, and Capital Investment (1998–present)

7. Intervention, Inc.: Nonprofit Corporations and Venture Capital

8. Prevention, Inc.: The Cultural Logic of Prevention, Basic Research, Hedging Bets, and Perennial (re)Branding

Part IV: Autism and Biocapital: On Precarity and Futurity

9. Autism and Biocapitalist Emergences: Biopolitical Technologies of Control

10. On Being Autistic in Neoliberal Capitalist Ruins: Endemic Precarity and Autistic Futurity

About the Author


Be the first Reviewer for this book

Other Books by Alicia A. Broderick

   Users Online