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Images and narratives of autism within charity discourses

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This research explores awareness of issues and debates concerning images and narratives about disability amongst autism charity brand-management professionals and their counterparts in the creative industries. These include the role of charities in service provision, the social model of disability, and disability stigma. It describes and analyses past and recent charity advertisements in both the United Kingdom and the United States, with attention to the historical context of these and the views and practices of charity and advertising professionals and autistic self-advocates, using David Hevey’s three-stage framework for disability representation by charities. The research concludes by considering emerging counter-narratives, which suggest ways charities may escape the perceived need to produce pathos or fear as part of such campaigns.
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Keywords: advertising; autism; autistic; charity; discourse

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Autism Centre for Education and Research, School of Education, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Publication date: 01 March 2012

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