Autism, Inc. The Autism Industrial Complex

Alicia A. Broderick, Robin Roscigno

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19 Scopus citations


Abstract We contend that, within capitalism, the Autism Industrial Complex (aic) produces both autism as commodity and the normative cultural logic of intervention in relation to it. Comprised of ideological/rhetorical as well as material/economic infrastructure, we argue that the aic is not the myriad businesses and industries that capitalize and profit from it; rather, these constitute its epiphenomenal features. In the production of autism as commodity, the aic also simultaneously produces that commodity's market, its consumers, and its own monopoly control of that market through production for consumption of need for, consent to, and legitimacy of interventionist logics. Within this apparatus, almost anyone can capitalize on and profit from autism. And within the aic, autistic people - their very bodies - function as the raw materials from which this industrial complex is built, even as autistic people - their very identities and selves - also become unwitting, and often unwilling, products of the aic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-101
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Disability Studies in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • applied behavior analysis
  • autism
  • autism industrial complex
  • capitalism
  • critical autism studies
  • disability studies
  • neoliberalism


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