Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and the Affective Labor of Neuroscience
In Tracing Autism, Des Fitzgerald offers an up-close account of the search for a neurological explanation of autism. As autism has gained cultural prominence with more diagnoses and more controversy, its biological causes remain elusive.
Through in-depth interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, Fitzgerald examines what it means to do scientific research in the ambiguous terrain of autism research, a field marked by shifting horizons of uncertainty and ambivalence. He draws out how autism scientists talk and feel their way through their research, demonstrating its profoundly affective character, and expanding our understanding of what is at stake in the new brain sciences.
Tracing Autism offers a theoretically rich and alternative perspective that departs from a critique of neuroscience to highlight how scientists 'move in, around, and out' with the complexities, anxieties, and ambiguities of autism neuroscience and the developing brain.
The work is engaging, thoughtful, and challenging. Tracing Autism makes an innovative contribution to autism studies, studies of science and affect, and the sociology of medical knowledge.
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