Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space
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Resonant relations: eco-lalia, political ec(h)ology and autistic ways of worlding

Publication Date Jun 26, 2022

Abstract

Echolalia – the repetition of words and phrases gleaned from one's environment – is often treated as a key behavioural marker of autism. Along with other perceived ‘stereotypies’, it is dismissed by Western biomedical and political discourses as disruptive, ‘meaningless repetition’ and targeted for individual and collective elimination in the context of a global ‘war on autism’. However, as this article shows, echoing is also a crucial element of Autistic ways of worlding. That is, it can be integral to forming and maintaining co-constitutive relations and ethical intimacy with other beings through distinctively resonant political-ec(h)ological relations. At the same time, echoing is a political act that can disrupt interwoven neurotypical (NT), colonial, racial and capitalist rhythms of sociality, communication and space. This insight challenges negative stereotypes about the perceived ‘lack’ or ‘impairment’ of Autistic people in the areas of relationality, intentionality and meaning-making. At the same time, it opens up a wider discussion of how Autistic ways of worlding can contribute to the creation of alternative eco-political futures. To flesh out these arguments, I draw on auto-ethnographic research based on my experience as an Autistic and Dyspraxic global political ecologist. In particular, I share elements of my experimental practice of ‘eco-lalia' – a reclamation of echoing as a form of echo-political praxis, expressed here in the form of poetry. In so doing, I argue that ec(h)olalia and other Autistic ways of wo...

Concepts

Repetition Of Words Repetition Of Phrases Political Discourses Neurotypical Creation Of Futures Biomedical Discourses Political Ecology Political Act Elements Of Practice Dominant Norms

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