Title

Discouraged Workers' Daily Occupations: Applying a Framework of Transaction to Research a Marginalized Population

Start Time

16-10-2009 9:30 AM

End Time

16-10-2009 11:00 AM

Abstract

The keynote address for this conference highlights the need for complex explanations of processes surrounding occupation and occupational engagement. Dewey’s concept of transaction continues to be highlighted in the literature as a useful way to conceptualize complexity in occupational science, but concerns with its practical application also need to be addressed. The research project discussed in this paper provides one example of how research may proceed under a theoretical framework of transaction. The purpose of this ongoing research study is to determine and describe the web of factors with which so-called “discouraged workers”’ transact to create their round of daily occupations. Research questions include the following: a) What occupations do discouraged workers engage in during their tenure of unemployment? b) What value do they assign to their occupations, and what function do their occupations serve? and c) How do discouraged workers’ daily occupations fit with activities in the formal, informal, and social economies of their geographic region? Up to 10 individuals will participate in focus groups, in-depth participant observation, and interviews over the course of this collaborative ethnographic study. In this paper, I describe how this research will build upon extant literature in occupational science, and I suggest that a framework of transaction is particularly suited to this study's collaborative ethnographic method, the purpose of which is to provide in-depth description rather than to make generalizations.

References

Aldrich, R. M. (2008). From complexity theory to transactionalism: Moving occupational science forward in theorizing the complexities of behavior. Journal of Occupational Science, 15(3), 147-156. Access Article

Cutchin, M. P., Aldrich, R. M., Bailliard, A. L., & Coppola, S. (2008). Action theories for occupational science: The contributions of Dewey and Bourdieu. Journal of Occupational Science, 15(3), 157-165. Access Article

Dewey, J., & Bentley, A. F. (1949/1976). Knowing and the known. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Dickie, V., Cutchin, M., & Humphry, R. (2006). Occupation as transactional experience: A critique of individualism in occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science,13(1), 83-93. Access Article

Lassiter, L. E. (2005). The Chicago guide to collaborative ethnography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Whiteford, G. (2000). Occupational deprivation: Global challenge in the new millennium. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(5), 200-204. Article Access

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Oct 16th, 9:30 AM Oct 16th, 11:00 AM

Discouraged Workers' Daily Occupations: Applying a Framework of Transaction to Research a Marginalized Population

The keynote address for this conference highlights the need for complex explanations of processes surrounding occupation and occupational engagement. Dewey’s concept of transaction continues to be highlighted in the literature as a useful way to conceptualize complexity in occupational science, but concerns with its practical application also need to be addressed. The research project discussed in this paper provides one example of how research may proceed under a theoretical framework of transaction. The purpose of this ongoing research study is to determine and describe the web of factors with which so-called “discouraged workers”’ transact to create their round of daily occupations. Research questions include the following: a) What occupations do discouraged workers engage in during their tenure of unemployment? b) What value do they assign to their occupations, and what function do their occupations serve? and c) How do discouraged workers’ daily occupations fit with activities in the formal, informal, and social economies of their geographic region? Up to 10 individuals will participate in focus groups, in-depth participant observation, and interviews over the course of this collaborative ethnographic study. In this paper, I describe how this research will build upon extant literature in occupational science, and I suggest that a framework of transaction is particularly suited to this study's collaborative ethnographic method, the purpose of which is to provide in-depth description rather than to make generalizations.