Challenging Sociality

An Anthropology of Robots, Autism, and Attachment

  • Kathleen Richardson

Part of the Social and Cultural Studies of Robots and AI book series (SOCUSRA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Kathleen Richardson
    Pages 1-27
  3. Kathleen Richardson
    Pages 29-48
  4. Kathleen Richardson
    Pages 63-80
  5. Kathleen Richardson
    Pages 81-101
  6. Kathleen Richardson
    Pages 103-120
  7. Kathleen Richardson
    Pages 121-140
  8. Kathleen Richardson
    Pages 141-152
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 153-156

About this book


This book explores the development of humanoid robots for helping children with autism develop social skills based on fieldwork in the UK and the USA. Robotic scientists propose that robots can therapeutically help children with autism because there is a “special” affinity between them and mechanical things. This idea is supported by autism experts that claim those with autism have a preference for things over other persons. Autism is also seen as a gendered condition, with men considered less social and therefore more likely to have the condition. The author explores how these experiments in cultivating social skills in children with autism using robots, while focused on a unique subsection, is the model for a new kind of human-thing relationship for wider society across the capitalist world where machines can take on the role of the “you” in the relational encounter. Moreover, underscoring this is a form of consciousness that arises out of specific forms of attachment styles. 


Science and Technology Studies Artificial Intelligence Robotics Humanoid Robots Autism Attachment Theory Interpersonal Relationships Social Interactions Human Bonding Psychological Development Attachment-based therapy Emotional Development Psychological Anthropology Robot Ethics Social Robotics

Authors and affiliations

  • Kathleen Richardson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of TechnologyDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information