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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The purposes of this chapter are, first, to describe and critically examine how an ethnomusicology of autism might be conceptualized as a form of applied ethnomusicology and, second, to position this emergent area of inquiry in relation to relevant epistemological frameworks, including the autistic self-advocacy and neurodiversity movements, disability studies, and the anthropology of autism. To achieve these purposes, the author employs a polyvocal narrative approach, weaving together his words and ideas with those of children on the autism spectrum with whom he plays music, spokespersons from within the autistic self-advocacy movement, and scholars, scientists, and disability rights advocates representing diverse positions and epistemic communities. The chapter proposes an ethnographic model of disability as a potential alternative and complement to existing social and medical models, arguing in turn that the ethnographic and relativistic tenets of applied ethnomusicology hold the potential to effectively promote neurodiversity and autism acceptance.

Keywords: autism, autism spectrum disorder, ethnomusicology, ethnography, autistic self-advocacy, neurodiversity, disability rights

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