"The Carpet Felt Five Inches Thick!" A Socio-Spatial Analysis of the Judge Rotenberg Center
Referencing Foucault, Goffman, and the lived experiences and testimony of survivors of the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), Canton Massachusetts, read alongside the writing of geographers, architects and sociologists exploring the design and space of theme parks and institutions, my research will explore the ways in which institutions and theme parks utilize similar methods to control the experience of those within in their manipulation of space, to (re)direct bodies. My MRP seeks to examine the juxtaposition between the abusive practices and the bizarre Disney-esque design of the space of the JRC, which bears many of the hallmarks of the theme park. Referencing the history and functions of the theme park, I read alongside the history and functions of institutions for those labelled with autism and intellectual disabilities through the case study of the JRC, I draw upon Sara Ahmed (2006) to ask what it means to be oriented (spatially, psychically, bodily, and temporally) in institutional spaces. I use Ahmed’s (2006) Queer Phenomenology to explore the ways in which autistic bodies are (re)(dis)oriented by the fantastical space of the JRC.