Embodied sociality and the conditioned relativism of dispositional diversity

Damian Milton


This paper explores the concepts of ‘embodiment’ (Merleau-Ponty, 1945), as well as those of ‘conditioned relativism’ and ‘dispositional diversity’ as first devised by the paper’s author some fifteen years ago as an undergraduate student, and applies them to debates regarding neurodiversity.  These concepts were devised by the author many years prior to being diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, having been previously assessed as “suffering” from a number of mental illnesses by a number of psychiatrists in his youth.  Drawing upon Marxist and Phenomenological theories in particular, these concepts are explained through an eclectic citation of references ranging from Lao Tsu to Jimi Hendrix.  These philosophical/sociological conceptions will be contrasted with those of others within the neurodiversity movement as a way of highlighting the need for “autistic solidarity” and the disabling effects of being isolated from others of similar disposition.  It is hoped that through this overview, a theoretical account of autistic difference being a normal part of the diversity characteristic of all nature, and thus hopefully dislodging the hegemonic dominance of what constitutes “normalcy”.

This paper was first delivered at the Theorising Normalcy Conference 2012.


Embodiment, Neurodiversity, Hegemony, Normalcy, Lifeworld


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