Not robots; Cyborgs — Furthering anti-ableist research in human-computer interaction
This theoretical essay builds on existing literature to draw out the consequences of dehumanizing and disseminating autism discourses within the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). Focusing mainly on narratives in HCI that frame autistic people as or like machines, we explore how dominant constructions of autism in HCI work to normalize the field’s complicity in violent autism intervention paradigms, despite HCI researchers’ well-meaning intentions. We work towards developing crip-cyborgs as an alternative framework for understanding autistic people (as opposed to computers or robots) and suggest crip technoscience as a framework for research based on this alternative understanding. In doing so, we hope to enroll misguided but well-intentioned researchers in dismantling anti-autistic ableism, both in and beyond HCI.
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