Echo and Narcissus and Pronoun-Reversal

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


This chapter explores the mythology of Echo and Narcissus and how this mythology informs studies of autism. This chapter explores how childhood studies are situated within an egocentric individualistic paradigm. The orthodoxy of this paradigm has created myths about childhood as a non-relational, selfish and non-empathetic state. Again myths that connect autism with detached or ‘narcissistic’ states are explored and challenged. The use of the narcissistic myth is disconnected from the story of Echo, which I reunite and show they are importantly connected to each other. Social communication takes place through a series of social behaviours that include turn-taking, reciprocal interactions, pronoun use, joint attention and imitation. In light of the way in which echolalia is a feature of autism, I look at how pronoun-reversal (the taking of opposite speech roles: you in place of I) and how these ways of understanding interpersonal experience is inflected through autism and wider notions of the individual in capitalism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Richardson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of TechnologyDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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