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A Listserv Posting

January 5, 2009

I just made the following response to a message on a listserv:

First, let me say that I found your message to be extremely cogent and well-written. Many sociologists can certainly make worthwhile contributions to the field of conflict resolution.

However, there are other areas to which sociologists can have meaningful input, as well. As a personal example, I operate, as founding director, a public sociology project called the League to Fight Neurelitism (neurological elitism):

We are an self-advocacy and activist venture in defense of the civil and other human rights of autistics. (I am an autistic myself.) We also work in collaboration with other organizations. For instance, I am on the board of directors of the Autism Society of the Heartland and attempting to establish a chapter of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.

The League’s primary function is (public sociological) advocacy, not conflict resolution. To illustrate, the autistic self-advocacy (pro-neurodiversity) community has had, historically, an antagonistic relationship with some largely parent-led groups. As an advocate, it is not my function to ameliorate those tensions but to support the neurodiversity position and the social model of disability.

Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.

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