Medicalized Motherhood and Normalized Autism: A Legacy of the Eugenic Ideology in Media Stories in Authoritarian Vietnam

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Abstract

This article examines a mother's stories which might have prominently set the tone for the narratives about autism in Vietnam. The study analyses the media representation of her family life with a child on the autism spectrum with the terrified and anguished experience of coping with the severe autistic behavior of her son and triumphantly helping him to become a human (sic). The article critiques the medicalization, normalization, eugenicism, and responsibilization ideologies embedded in the media frames that autistic challenges belong to the individuals and must be fixed, through the family's efforts, without holding state institutions accountable for addressing this public health issue. The episodic frames to represent autism as a personal medical issue and family problem demotivated the urgency of advocating for a right-based social policy to accommodate individuals with autism, while the warrior-hero's narratives driven by fears might backfire when other parents cannot afford to do the same. The combination of framing analysis and critical discourse analysis with an emphasis on the cultural political economy fills the gap in global media and communication studies to contextualize how pervasively the structural factors in an authoritarian country might impact the media framing practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Communication Inquiry
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2023

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© The Author(s) 2023

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  • ESHCC M&C

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