“I like you being here”: To understand and be understood through illustration

Beth Sutton


In this article, I establish some reasons why neurodivergent (ND) people are unlocatable in anthropology and examine a fundamental crisis of mis/under-representing being-ND-in-the-world. I begin with a critique of anthropological ethics at large, disentangling some ableist assumptions about informed consent with “vulnerable” groups. I go on to present “The Theory of ConSENt”: a SEN-based approach that can enable ND people to understand the research process with regards to ethics. SEN is a commonly used acronym for Special Educational Needs. I then argue there is untapped potential within Sensory Anthropology, as it offers a capacious opening to the research of ND people. I highlight a place for SENsory praxis, as a way of neurodiversifying existing methods to enable a full range of abilities to flourish in ethnography. This article makes a well overdue case against anthropological ableism, contributing to the ongoing work of decolonisation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/717106