Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Part 2: Autism and Geert Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Theory

>Part 1<-

Before I jump into Hofstede's dimensions it is worth taking a look at the concept of people with autism as a culture unto themselves.  There certainly has been enough discussion on the concept of those with disabilities or different mental states  forming a subculture or even a culture unto themselves (Example OneExample TwoExample ThreeExample Four) and autism certainly fits into one of those two categories. Even the concept that Autism is a disability is being challenged from the ASD community meaning that there is a form of group identity being formed and debated.

Yet I am not sure I believe that Autism is a culture unto itself yet. My thought is that if you took all Autistic people and magically dropped them onto an isolated world they would go through a similar acculturation process as another group with a unifying factor. Certainly those on the Spectrum  have formed strong subcultures within the framework of larger national cultures but lumping all ASD folk into one large group and calling it a culture seems as problematic as if I did that with Asians, people over 7 feet in height, those who caught malaria or are deaf. The independent subcultures are much stronger than a diluted larger population.

This is an important distinction in analyzing how the ASD culture/subculture relates to the dichotomies that the Hofstede theory puts forth. How a subculture relates to the dimensions is much different than how a top level culture has determined their relationship. The subculture, necessarily, takes its cues from the parent culture and is influenced by the parent culture's views on the dimension.

So in considering ASD and the Cultural Dimension theory I will consider it in the context of a subculture. Determining what the parent culture is will be a bit more challenging as the subculture can have parent and even grandparent cultures. For instance consider myself: ASD subculture and I live in the United States so I have that influence. However is there an in-between cultural layer of affluence level or race that affects my subculture identity? I am not sure.

->Part 3<-

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