Title

Ducks and Rabbits: The Elusive Nature of an Occupational Perspective

Presenter Information

Matthew Molineux

Start Time

6-10-2006 12:50 PM

End Time

6-10-2006 1:55 PM

Abstract

It is well accepted that an occupational perspective of humans and health is fundamental to both occupational therapy and occupational science. As such, members of both fields are expected to adopt an occupational perspective in their work, and so when they fail to do so they are heavily criticized. What some critics may fail to acknowledge, however, is that while it is easy to talk the language of occupation, enacting that perspective in research, education, and practice can be difficult. This paper will share one experience of attempting to enact an occupational perspective in research. Following ethical approval, oral histories were gathered from five men living with HIV infection in the United Kingdom.. The oral histories covered each man’s life from early childhood up to the end of the data collection phase. The interview data were analyzed narratively to produce textual representations of each man’s occupational career. This paper will present a brief overview of this research, but will focus on the process involved in producing the occupational careers of each participant. It will show how initial analysis seemed to force an occupational view into a biomedical framework. This resulted in occupational careers which were demarcated by the recognized medical stages of HIV infection. Initially this seemed acceptable due to an interest in examining each man’s life before and after HIV infection. To move beyond that, however, each man’s life story was examined for occupational turning points. The result was a view of each man’s life that was structured around those occupational turning points and sometimes these did not correlate with medical markers. On reflection, this process challenges what it means to adopt an occupational perspective; it is more than a concern with what people do and how they make sense of their experiences of occupational engagement, but it is, rather unhelpfully, subtle and difficult to articulate.

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Oct 6th, 12:50 PM Oct 6th, 1:55 PM

Ducks and Rabbits: The Elusive Nature of an Occupational Perspective

It is well accepted that an occupational perspective of humans and health is fundamental to both occupational therapy and occupational science. As such, members of both fields are expected to adopt an occupational perspective in their work, and so when they fail to do so they are heavily criticized. What some critics may fail to acknowledge, however, is that while it is easy to talk the language of occupation, enacting that perspective in research, education, and practice can be difficult. This paper will share one experience of attempting to enact an occupational perspective in research. Following ethical approval, oral histories were gathered from five men living with HIV infection in the United Kingdom.. The oral histories covered each man’s life from early childhood up to the end of the data collection phase. The interview data were analyzed narratively to produce textual representations of each man’s occupational career. This paper will present a brief overview of this research, but will focus on the process involved in producing the occupational careers of each participant. It will show how initial analysis seemed to force an occupational view into a biomedical framework. This resulted in occupational careers which were demarcated by the recognized medical stages of HIV infection. Initially this seemed acceptable due to an interest in examining each man’s life before and after HIV infection. To move beyond that, however, each man’s life story was examined for occupational turning points. The result was a view of each man’s life that was structured around those occupational turning points and sometimes these did not correlate with medical markers. On reflection, this process challenges what it means to adopt an occupational perspective; it is more than a concern with what people do and how they make sense of their experiences of occupational engagement, but it is, rather unhelpfully, subtle and difficult to articulate.