Title

Towards a Taxonomy of Occupations

Start Time

16-10-2009 3:30 PM

End Time

16-10-2009 5:00 PM

Abstract

There is a need to explore the differences between occupations, separate from the person carrying them out. This paper proposes the development of a taxonomy of occupations which categorizes and describes the configuration and unique characteristics of diverse occupations. Sport for example (competition involving physical competence) is very different from the making of finely crafted jewelry which is different again from cooking whether the occupation is undertaken by an individual as work, self-care, or leisure. There is also a difference between the occupational processes of work which results in an identifiable artifact or tangible end product, labor which contributes to the ongoing sustaining of life, and play which may do neither. The development of taxonomy requires identification and description of unique characteristics of components, exploration of relationships between each, and verification that the taxonomy is complete and inclusive. The preliminary taxonomy of occupations distinguishes some critical differences between occupations associated with the (currently titled) classifications of make, compete, perform, cultivate, promote, connect, control, and transport. There are methodological challenges in identifying samples of all occupations to validate the developing taxonomy. We are using community newspapers (from four countries and across different seasons) to examine the breadth of activities participated in by people across the lifespan, to test the conceptual integrity of the proposed taxonomy, its completeness and its category descriptors. We reasoned that community newspapers are a useful source of data that reflects the occupations of whole communities, and because such occupational samples are not selected by researchers it can be used to test the developing notions and definitions. We have undertaken a detailed qualitative, interpretive, content and text analysis of the occupations represented in articles (both features and news items) and advertisements (for products, services and opportunities). We argue that there is a need to distinguish between occupations and a taxonomy of occupations may be useful to occupational scientists in considering occupations separately from the people who undertake them and the meaning that individuals attach to them. Critique of the preliminary taxonomy and legitimate methodological processes to verify such a developing taxonomy is now needed.

References

Bowker, G. C., & Leigh Star, S. (1999). Sorting things out. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Caulton, R. (Ed.). (1994). The Best of Occupation. Dunedin: Otago Polytechnic.

Hocking, C. O. (2008). Ruth Zemke Lecture in Occupational Science: The challenge of occupation: Describing the things people do. Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Occupation. Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Oct 16th, 3:30 PM Oct 16th, 5:00 PM

Towards a Taxonomy of Occupations

There is a need to explore the differences between occupations, separate from the person carrying them out. This paper proposes the development of a taxonomy of occupations which categorizes and describes the configuration and unique characteristics of diverse occupations. Sport for example (competition involving physical competence) is very different from the making of finely crafted jewelry which is different again from cooking whether the occupation is undertaken by an individual as work, self-care, or leisure. There is also a difference between the occupational processes of work which results in an identifiable artifact or tangible end product, labor which contributes to the ongoing sustaining of life, and play which may do neither. The development of taxonomy requires identification and description of unique characteristics of components, exploration of relationships between each, and verification that the taxonomy is complete and inclusive. The preliminary taxonomy of occupations distinguishes some critical differences between occupations associated with the (currently titled) classifications of make, compete, perform, cultivate, promote, connect, control, and transport. There are methodological challenges in identifying samples of all occupations to validate the developing taxonomy. We are using community newspapers (from four countries and across different seasons) to examine the breadth of activities participated in by people across the lifespan, to test the conceptual integrity of the proposed taxonomy, its completeness and its category descriptors. We reasoned that community newspapers are a useful source of data that reflects the occupations of whole communities, and because such occupational samples are not selected by researchers it can be used to test the developing notions and definitions. We have undertaken a detailed qualitative, interpretive, content and text analysis of the occupations represented in articles (both features and news items) and advertisements (for products, services and opportunities). We argue that there is a need to distinguish between occupations and a taxonomy of occupations may be useful to occupational scientists in considering occupations separately from the people who undertake them and the meaning that individuals attach to them. Critique of the preliminary taxonomy and legitimate methodological processes to verify such a developing taxonomy is now needed.