Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Narrative Constructions of Motherhood and Autism: Reading Embodied Language beyond Binary Oppositions

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2011), 5, (1), 53–69.

Abstract

The article is an analysis of the ways in which motherhood is constructed in three narratives written by mothers of children who are diagnosed with autism. The authors relate to discourses on motherhood and autism that strain their identities. The article addresses how the authors negotiate these problematic discourses. Special attention is paid to binary oppositions that underpin these discourses. Moreover, a reading strategy is developed that draws attention to material, physical aspects of the narratives. The article argues, among other things, that some of the authors break away from the discourses on motherhood and autism by mobilizing language in embodied ways.

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Weusten, Josje