Title

Occupations & Identities: Stories about Being "Not Much Different"

Start Time

29-10-2005 8:50 AM

End Time

29-10-2005 10:30 AM

Abstract

The close link between occupation and identity has been of interest to occupational scientists for over a decade. This paper is based on an ethnographic study and narrative analysis focusing on the construction and expression of identities through occupations after a spinal cord injury. Drawing from narrative interviews and participant observations that were conducted over an 18-month period, the focus for this paper will be on the social ideologies embedded within ordinary everyday occupations and interactions. Attention will be placed on the ideologies that are often hidden beneath the surfaces of daily interactions, yet powerfully present in the ongoing processes of shaping identities through some of the most commonplace occupations. This is of importance, because arguably occupations are not enacted within neutral socio-cultural worlds, but envelop the socially charged complexities of myriad discourses existing within a broader milieu.

I suggest that it is amid the humdrum of everyday life and during the most ordinary occupations where participants in this study created and crafted their identities in various contexts shared with others. Stories grounded in research data will be used in conjunction with a multi-disciplinary set of theories to illustrate key concepts from this study, which will add to the contours that represent our understanding of occupation. Both the inner experiences as well as the more outer environments in which these occupations are carried out will be brought forth. By exploring the concept of identities through an occupational science lens, identities become more fluid expressions of what percolates within the reservoirs of the “I,” that is, within the beliefs, habits, values, social discourses, and arsenal of mental tools that are continuously undergoing development, orchestration, and revisions.

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Oct 29th, 8:50 AM Oct 29th, 10:30 AM

Occupations & Identities: Stories about Being "Not Much Different"

The close link between occupation and identity has been of interest to occupational scientists for over a decade. This paper is based on an ethnographic study and narrative analysis focusing on the construction and expression of identities through occupations after a spinal cord injury. Drawing from narrative interviews and participant observations that were conducted over an 18-month period, the focus for this paper will be on the social ideologies embedded within ordinary everyday occupations and interactions. Attention will be placed on the ideologies that are often hidden beneath the surfaces of daily interactions, yet powerfully present in the ongoing processes of shaping identities through some of the most commonplace occupations. This is of importance, because arguably occupations are not enacted within neutral socio-cultural worlds, but envelop the socially charged complexities of myriad discourses existing within a broader milieu.

I suggest that it is amid the humdrum of everyday life and during the most ordinary occupations where participants in this study created and crafted their identities in various contexts shared with others. Stories grounded in research data will be used in conjunction with a multi-disciplinary set of theories to illustrate key concepts from this study, which will add to the contours that represent our understanding of occupation. Both the inner experiences as well as the more outer environments in which these occupations are carried out will be brought forth. By exploring the concept of identities through an occupational science lens, identities become more fluid expressions of what percolates within the reservoirs of the “I,” that is, within the beliefs, habits, values, social discourses, and arsenal of mental tools that are continuously undergoing development, orchestration, and revisions.