The Politics of Autism: Navigating The Contested Spectrum

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-1442249608
ISBN-10: 1442249609
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Editorial Reviews


The content of this book is more compelling than the title would suggest. Pitney looks at every aspect of autism, dissecting it in intriguing ways. After a brief history of the politics of the disorder, the author examines the dynamic forces that pull discussion of it in myriad directions. These forces include—but are not limited to—the communities of science, medicine, education, and government. Questions about autism are never fully answered because it is almost impossible to do so, given the complexity of the condition: What causes it? How is it defined? What does it mean to ‘have’ this disorder? What are the implications for society, now and in the future? The author views autism as a ‘political football,’ and in this book he kicks that football around from one field to another. In doing so, he draws the reader into the book and the enigma of autism spectrum disorders. A fascinating read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, professionals; general readers. ― Choice

The Politics of Autism ... achieves something important in setting out and summarizing some current authoritative political discourses surrounding autism, and [provides] a springboard for future discussion and debate. ―
Disability & Society

Pitney’s research presents a picture of a bureaucratic and political disaster, a potential 'tsunami'(p. 108) for families living with autism as these children get older and struggle to secure appropriate employment and housing services. He suggests that while the politics of autism is defined by the uncertainty of the condition, and while autism is also defined by various discourses surrounding the condition, what is missing is the 'voice of the rank and file'(p. 122)— autistic individuals themselves. For those who are concerned about the life chances of autistic individuals and want to understand the difficulties of attaining equal life chances for autistic individuals, this book is of great benefit. ―
Political Science Quarterly

Jack Pitney has written a splendid account of what he calls the politics of autism…. The Pitney book, in summary, addresses the wide range of forces bearing on the past and present of the ‘field of autism’ and leaves the reader all the more admiring of the industry and skill of its author. ―
Journal of Health Politics, Policy, & Law

Among the hundreds of autism books now being published each year, this book stands out. It should be the starting point for anyone interested in knowing the dynamics of autism today: the science, the education initiatives, the policy responses. A must for any layperson or practitioner in the field. -- Michael Bernick, former director of the California Employment Development Department and fellow at the Milken Institute

Autism matters to everyone. Pitney leaves his reader understanding why this is true and why solutions have proven elusive. The Politics of Autism expertly maps the complex terrain of policy designed to address society’s challenges attributed to autism and provides a solid foundation from which to move forward.
-- Dana Lee Baker, School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Washington State University

About the Author

John J. Pitney, Jr., is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College. He received his B.A. from Union College and his Ph.D. in political science at Yale. He is the author of The Art of Political Warfare and the coauthor of several books, including Epic Journey: The 2008 Elections and American Politics and After Hope and Change: The 2012 Elections and American Politics. In addition to his scholarly work, he has held staff positions in the U.S. Congress and the New York State Legislature. He has written articles for many publications, such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Politico. He is a frequent commentator on politics and public policy for National Public Radio and American Public Radio. He maintains several blogs, including Autism Policy and Politics.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (August 6, 2015)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 190 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1442249609
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1442249608
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 15.3 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.36 x 0.75 x 9.38 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.6 out of 5 stars 7 ratings

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John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. He received his B.A. in political science from Union College, where he was co-valedictorian. He earned his Ph.D. in political science at Yale, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. From 1978 to 1980, he worked in the New York State Senate. From 1983 to 1984, as a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association, he worked for Senator Alfonse D'Amato of New York and the House Republican Policy Committee, chaired by Representative Dick Cheney of Wyoming. From 1984 to 1986, he was senior domestic policy analyst for the House Republican Research Committee. He joined the Claremont McKenna College faculty in 1986. From 1989 to 1991, during a leave of absence, he worked at the Research Department of the Republican National Committee, first as deputy director, then as acting director. He has written articles for The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and Roll Call, among others. His scholarly works include The Art of Political Warfare, published in 2000 by the University of Oklahoma Press. With James W. Ceaser and Andrew E. Busch, he has coauthored Epic Journey: The 2008 Elections and American Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009).

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