Theses Doctoral

Globalization and the Networks of Expertise in Turkey: The Politics of Autism

Öncüler, Emine

This dissertation uses the case of autism to examine the changing contours of disability, personhood and civil society in contemporary Turkey. Drawing on qualitative data collected through fieldwork and interviews, I show that despite the arguments proposed by parents groups and the scientific literature, the dissemination of autism diagnoses globally does not indicate a universalization of the experience, interpretation and moral understanding of the disease category. Instead, the translation of autism to the Turkish context was contingent upon the specific institutional conditions determined by professional struggles, the organization of civil society and the transformation of the welfare state. My findings suggest that there is a split moral career of the child presenting with developmental problems in Turkey with divergent paths to referral, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. In the absence of high quality, state subsidized special education services, middle class parents have allied with Western educated experts to disassemble the autism spectrum resulting in the formation of what I call a "disorder without a diagnosis". These findings are significant in understanding the changing relations of expertise in a non-Western context.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Eyal, Gil
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 14, 2013