Sensory strangers: travels in normate sensory worlds

David Jackson-Perry, Hanna Bertilsdotor- Rosqvist, Jenn Layton Annable, Marianthi Kourti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Sensory experience is subject to considerable political and normative pressure, often felt, but rarely theorised. Taking as a starting point Simmel’s conceptualisation of the stranger, whose ‘position as a full-fledged member (of society) involves both being outside it and confronting it’, we propose neurodivergence as a form of Simmelian sensory stranger-hood, phenomenologically, spatially, and temporally situated as a tool for critical exploration of expressions of – and discourse around – cognitive normate sensory experience. We therefore consider neurodivergent experience less as an object of study than as a perspective. Here, the writers take the collective experiences of their own ‘bodyminds’ as a source of data. This chapter therefore consists of an auto-ethnographic project with a triple aim. First, we use this exploration to consider sensory normativity, and how this may affect the ways in which neurodivergent people are able to construct themselves and their identities. Second, we propose a reading within which the ‘sensory stranger’ provides a valuable epistemic asset whose potential exceeds the ‘particularity’ of neurodivergent experience. Finally, we are interested in considering the conditions and circumstances under which neurodiverse writing methods may be emancipatory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeurodiversity Studies: A New Critical Paradigm
Place of PublicationLondon
Publication statusPublished - 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Sensory strangers: travels in normate sensory worlds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this