An Ethnomethodological Explication of the Usage of Diagnostic Categories: On the Relation Between Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Self-Identity (2)

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Shigeru URANO , Department of Nursing, Mie Prefectural College of Nursing, Tsu City, Japan
Satsuki AYAYA , Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Shinichiro KUMAGAYA , Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Through the lens of medicalization in sociology, the relations that people have with medical categories are considered subordinate to medical professions. Therefore, how individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) come to terms with the category of “ASD” is considered a manifestation of that subordination (Conrad, 2007). However, this perspective prevents us from understanding actual situations in which those individuals come to terms with the diagnosis of ASD. Many studies have investigated the various relations people actually have with their diagnostic categories (Hacking, 2009; Jutel, 2011). Based on these precedent studies, this presentation examines the sessions of tohjisha-kenkyu (which roughly translates as “sufferers’ first-person study”) and explains the interactions of the settings in which participants refer to their own diagnostic categories. The Japanese word tohjisha-kenkyu refers to a collaborative activity in which the individuals suffering from social isolation due to their impairments talk about their troubled experiences and study the structures of these experiences in their own words. Tohjisha-kenkyu began in a mental patients’ group in the town of Hokkaido, Japan and has since been utilized in many other groups of individuals with various impairments (Ayaya and Kumagaya, 2008; Ishihara, 2013). The sessions of tohjisha-kenkyu this presentation examined were for individuals with ASD and conducted by these individuals. Using ethnomethodology and analyzing audio recordings of the sessions, we focused on the following questions: (1) What is the significance and what are the roles of the participants’ self-reference to diagnostic categories? (2) What relationships do these usages of diagnostic categories make possible between participants? (3) What consequences do these usages give to the meanings of these diagnostic categories?