About Dr Neil Maclean

My research with the Maring of the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea has focused onthemes of the local relationship to the cash economy, the post-colonial nation state, and a developing, if contradiction ridden, national cultural field. Within this field I have written specifically on gambling, money, markets, education, the politics of space and the mimetic dynamics of the colonial encounter, and local understandings of development. A sustained engagement with critical theory has informed these substantive concerns.

More recently I have begun working on anthropological perspectives on autism and on those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Issues include:

  • the implications of ethnographic and autoethnographic perspectives on a field empirically dominated by the experimental and the clinical;
  • autism as a site of debate about empathy, imagination and play;
  • disability and personhood;
  • adult life-histories.
Engagement with the debates about empathy and imagination has also brought me back to the more general debates about the nature of participant observation as a method.