Title

Cross Cultural Perspectives on Occupation; What Occupational Science Can Gain From Japanese Ways of Knowing

Presenter Information

Michael Iwama
Etsuko Odawara
Eric Asaba

Start Time

7-10-2006 1:00 PM

End Time

7-10-2006 2:40 PM

Abstract

In this panel and ensuing discussion, Japanese occupational scientists who have located their research in both Eastern and Western socio-cultural contexts present a series of papers that will critically challenge (early) perspectives regarding how occupation is defined, comprehended and ultimately conceptualized. The grand narrative of occupation appears to have been framed and progressed within certain cultural norms that particularly privilege ontologies and systems of knowledge germane to Western spheres of experience. Occupation framed in terms of individual agency, of rational and pragmatic paths to identity and being, and the universal quality of its assumptions are tacitly held and rarely contested. For many who abide in non-Western spheres of experience, as in East Asia and who hold varying ontological views, philosophical traditions and value patterns, occupation, as defined in the Western world continues to be a relatively esoteric construct. How do the forms, functions and meanings of occupations look when viewed from socio-cultural contexts that celebrate collectivism, that define individual identity imbedded in other(s), that regard social dependency as a basic value, and that have preferred a particular variation of Confucian hierarchy over Western egalitarian practices? What happens to the function of occupation as a “bridge”, when the gap between distinct self and outer environment is closed and rendered inconsequential in a worldview that melds these two entities? The panel will present papers that speak to various aspects of these tensions between culture and occupation. Dr. Etsuko Odawara will present her work on horizontal social indexing conceptualized in Japanese as ‘Uchi’ (inside) and ‘Soto’ (outside), as a means to provide insights into how some Japanese locate aspects of self, other and meaning and power of ‘doing’ in various realms of proximity and distance. Dr. Michael Iwama will examine metaphor – particularly of the ‘Kawa’ (river) as a narrative of ‘life flow’, as a way to demonstrate how the interconnected aspects of the social, time, and space are perceived by the modal Japanese subject and how these amorphous contexts form the bases from which occupations are identified and valuated.

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Oct 7th, 1:00 PM Oct 7th, 2:40 PM

Cross Cultural Perspectives on Occupation; What Occupational Science Can Gain From Japanese Ways of Knowing

In this panel and ensuing discussion, Japanese occupational scientists who have located their research in both Eastern and Western socio-cultural contexts present a series of papers that will critically challenge (early) perspectives regarding how occupation is defined, comprehended and ultimately conceptualized. The grand narrative of occupation appears to have been framed and progressed within certain cultural norms that particularly privilege ontologies and systems of knowledge germane to Western spheres of experience. Occupation framed in terms of individual agency, of rational and pragmatic paths to identity and being, and the universal quality of its assumptions are tacitly held and rarely contested. For many who abide in non-Western spheres of experience, as in East Asia and who hold varying ontological views, philosophical traditions and value patterns, occupation, as defined in the Western world continues to be a relatively esoteric construct. How do the forms, functions and meanings of occupations look when viewed from socio-cultural contexts that celebrate collectivism, that define individual identity imbedded in other(s), that regard social dependency as a basic value, and that have preferred a particular variation of Confucian hierarchy over Western egalitarian practices? What happens to the function of occupation as a “bridge”, when the gap between distinct self and outer environment is closed and rendered inconsequential in a worldview that melds these two entities? The panel will present papers that speak to various aspects of these tensions between culture and occupation. Dr. Etsuko Odawara will present her work on horizontal social indexing conceptualized in Japanese as ‘Uchi’ (inside) and ‘Soto’ (outside), as a means to provide insights into how some Japanese locate aspects of self, other and meaning and power of ‘doing’ in various realms of proximity and distance. Dr. Michael Iwama will examine metaphor – particularly of the ‘Kawa’ (river) as a narrative of ‘life flow’, as a way to demonstrate how the interconnected aspects of the social, time, and space are perceived by the modal Japanese subject and how these amorphous contexts form the bases from which occupations are identified and valuated.