Title

Profile of an Occupational Community

Presenter Information

Jenny Womack

Start Time

27-10-2007 9:30 AM

End Time

27-10-2007 11:00 AM

Abstract

Throughout the process of two years of ethnographic work with a feminist chorus, the presenter came to understand membership in this group as constructed around occupation rather than, as assumed at the beginning of the project, having a primary basis in identity. Through participant observation, oral histories and archival research, the presenter uncovered an evolution of ways in which the group has used musical performance to address various political and social issues over its 25-year history. Although legislative activism, ecological awareness, and the politics of equality have all had a turn at the forefront of the chorus‚ performances, and shared identities strengthen commitment to the process, the enduring sentiment regarding membership in the group is one of desire to participate in the production and performance of musical events. This focus on the occupational nature of belonging to the chorus led the author to consider three primary questions: 1) Are there characteristics of occupational groups that differ from identity-based groups or groups formed primarily for social purposes? 2) What is the role of the occupation in the evolution of a collection of people from a group to a community? and 3) Does gender play a role in the way in which community is constructed and/or In order to address these questions, the author will draw from her own ethnographic work as well as from literature in Occupational Science, Folklore and Community Psychology to offer various possibilities for understanding community from an occupational perspective. In addition, feminist theory and women’s oral histories will be used to explore women’s ways of understanding community. The session intends to provoke discussion regarding the central and powerful nature of occupation in the organization and function of a community formed for the purpose of co-constructing performance.

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Oct 27th, 9:30 AM Oct 27th, 11:00 AM

Profile of an Occupational Community

Throughout the process of two years of ethnographic work with a feminist chorus, the presenter came to understand membership in this group as constructed around occupation rather than, as assumed at the beginning of the project, having a primary basis in identity. Through participant observation, oral histories and archival research, the presenter uncovered an evolution of ways in which the group has used musical performance to address various political and social issues over its 25-year history. Although legislative activism, ecological awareness, and the politics of equality have all had a turn at the forefront of the chorus‚ performances, and shared identities strengthen commitment to the process, the enduring sentiment regarding membership in the group is one of desire to participate in the production and performance of musical events. This focus on the occupational nature of belonging to the chorus led the author to consider three primary questions: 1) Are there characteristics of occupational groups that differ from identity-based groups or groups formed primarily for social purposes? 2) What is the role of the occupation in the evolution of a collection of people from a group to a community? and 3) Does gender play a role in the way in which community is constructed and/or In order to address these questions, the author will draw from her own ethnographic work as well as from literature in Occupational Science, Folklore and Community Psychology to offer various possibilities for understanding community from an occupational perspective. In addition, feminist theory and women’s oral histories will be used to explore women’s ways of understanding community. The session intends to provoke discussion regarding the central and powerful nature of occupation in the organization and function of a community formed for the purpose of co-constructing performance.