Title

Understanding Occupational Potential and its Socio-political, Theoretical, and Practical Implications

Presenter Information

Alison Wicks

Start Time

16-10-2002 12:00 AM

End Time

18-10-2002 12:00 AM

Abstract

This paper presents the synthesised findings of a qualitative study that explored the concept of occupational potential, the capacity to do. Occupational potential is a fundamental yet relatively nascent concept in the theoretical construction of the human as an occupational being. The findings that emerged from the study, which interpreted life stories of older women from an occupational perspective, illuminate some generic features of occupational potential. Additional findings include some of the influences that apparently affect the development and realisation of occupational potential across the life course. The gendered nature of occupational potential, which became apparent when a feminist perspective was applied to the data, is presented as a specific finding. As is characteristic of qualitative research, particularly research conducted within an interpretive paradigm, the findings presented are tentative and not intended as an attempt to develop a universal theory of occupational potential. Rather, the findings remain grounded in the narrative of the participants of the study. The paper also discusses the implications of the findings, as they relate to a variety of issues across a range of sectors. Some of the implications concern: policy issues in the social, education and health sectors; theoretical and research issues in occupational science, occupational therapy and feminism; and practice issues in occupational therapy.

The primary purpose of the paper is to emphasise the significance of the concept of occupational potential in the study of human occupation. The secondary purpose is to reveal how being a woman apparently shapes the development of occupational potential at each stage of the life course, as biological and social determinants of gender interact. Ideally, the outcome of the paper will be enhanced understanding of occupational potential and its gendered nature. Such an understanding is essential for advocating the development and implementation of social policies that create and sustain occupationally just societies in which all people have opportunities and resources to participate in meaningful occupation so that they can realise their occupational potential.

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Oct 16th, 12:00 AM Oct 18th, 12:00 AM

Understanding Occupational Potential and its Socio-political, Theoretical, and Practical Implications

This paper presents the synthesised findings of a qualitative study that explored the concept of occupational potential, the capacity to do. Occupational potential is a fundamental yet relatively nascent concept in the theoretical construction of the human as an occupational being. The findings that emerged from the study, which interpreted life stories of older women from an occupational perspective, illuminate some generic features of occupational potential. Additional findings include some of the influences that apparently affect the development and realisation of occupational potential across the life course. The gendered nature of occupational potential, which became apparent when a feminist perspective was applied to the data, is presented as a specific finding. As is characteristic of qualitative research, particularly research conducted within an interpretive paradigm, the findings presented are tentative and not intended as an attempt to develop a universal theory of occupational potential. Rather, the findings remain grounded in the narrative of the participants of the study. The paper also discusses the implications of the findings, as they relate to a variety of issues across a range of sectors. Some of the implications concern: policy issues in the social, education and health sectors; theoretical and research issues in occupational science, occupational therapy and feminism; and practice issues in occupational therapy.

The primary purpose of the paper is to emphasise the significance of the concept of occupational potential in the study of human occupation. The secondary purpose is to reveal how being a woman apparently shapes the development of occupational potential at each stage of the life course, as biological and social determinants of gender interact. Ideally, the outcome of the paper will be enhanced understanding of occupational potential and its gendered nature. Such an understanding is essential for advocating the development and implementation of social policies that create and sustain occupationally just societies in which all people have opportunities and resources to participate in meaningful occupation so that they can realise their occupational potential.