Title

“All I want is a roof over my head”: Systemic influences on participation and social inclusion for citizens living with multiple disadvantage

Start Time

21-10-2011 9:45 AM

End Time

21-10-2011 10:15 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Statement of purpose: Citizens who experience socioeconomic disadvantage and disability (‘multiple disadvantage’) are amongst the most marginalised and oppressed in Western societies. As a result, participation in meaningful occupations together with equitable inclusion in society can manifest as utopian ideals.

There is a paucity of literature within social and occupational science discourse which has explored the lived realities of citizens experiencing multiple disadvantages. Furthermore, literature investigating the application of the social model of disability in context with broader socio-political systems from an individual’s perspective is also lacking. This paper presents some preliminary findings from the author’s doctoral study into social inclusion policy, ‘participation’ problematisations and the experiences of citizens living with multiple disadvantages.

Methods: Narrative approaches to qualitative studies are considered as central to understanding occupational experiences in context (Clark, Carlson, & Polkinghorne, 1997; Josephsson, Asaba, Jonsson & Alsaker, 2006). Life history methodology was chosen to explore the narratives and factors which facilitated or constrained occupational participation over the life course through a comprehensive view over time (Wicks, 2006). Following ethics approval to conduct the study, participants were recruited through purposive sampling from a non-government organisation and a disability employment agency located in two socially disadvantaged local government areas in a large Australian city. Seven participants were involved in the study. Each participant engaged in one to three in-depth and audiorecorded interviews, ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours each. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed for concurrent themes using an iterative and constant comparative approach.

Results: Preliminary findings identified the influence of governance systems which enabled or hindered participation and social inclusion. Participants described how such systems directly displayed actions consistent with occupational injustice, such as occupational deprivation. Participants also highlighted positive and negative experiences from attempting to engage with services, such as public housing, drug rehabilitation and welfare agencies. Participants also considered living with socioeconomic disadvantage to be more disabling than their disability itself.

Conclusion: The preliminary findings provided further evidence towards the influence of poverty on participation as well as the importance and essentiality of the social determinants of health towards quality of life. The findings also emphasized how governance systems fostered rather than decreased the ‘disablement’ experience. Finally, the findings identify several implications for furthering occupational science discourse and policy directions to improve opportunities for marginalised citizens.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does an understanding of governance systems assist with our understanding of poverty and its relationship to occupational participation?
  2. What occupations enabled meaningful participation and social inclusion for the participants in the study? How?
  3. What contribution does your research make towards the growing discourse of socio-political contexts and their influence on occupational opportunities in occupational science scholarship?

References

Clark, F., Carlson, M. & Polkinghorne, D. (1997). The legitimacy of life history and narrative approaches in the study of occupation. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 51(4), 313-317. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.51.4.313

Josephsson, S., Asaba, E., Jonsson, H. & Alsaker, S. (2006). Creativity and order in communication: Implications from philosophy to narrative research concerning human occupation. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 13, 86-93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11038120600691116

Wicks, A. (2006). Older women’s “ways of doing”: Strategies for successful ageing. Ageing International, 31(4). 263-275. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02915425

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Research paper

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Oct 21st, 9:45 AM Oct 21st, 10:15 AM

“All I want is a roof over my head”: Systemic influences on participation and social inclusion for citizens living with multiple disadvantage

Statement of purpose: Citizens who experience socioeconomic disadvantage and disability (‘multiple disadvantage’) are amongst the most marginalised and oppressed in Western societies. As a result, participation in meaningful occupations together with equitable inclusion in society can manifest as utopian ideals.

There is a paucity of literature within social and occupational science discourse which has explored the lived realities of citizens experiencing multiple disadvantages. Furthermore, literature investigating the application of the social model of disability in context with broader socio-political systems from an individual’s perspective is also lacking. This paper presents some preliminary findings from the author’s doctoral study into social inclusion policy, ‘participation’ problematisations and the experiences of citizens living with multiple disadvantages.

Methods: Narrative approaches to qualitative studies are considered as central to understanding occupational experiences in context (Clark, Carlson, & Polkinghorne, 1997; Josephsson, Asaba, Jonsson & Alsaker, 2006). Life history methodology was chosen to explore the narratives and factors which facilitated or constrained occupational participation over the life course through a comprehensive view over time (Wicks, 2006). Following ethics approval to conduct the study, participants were recruited through purposive sampling from a non-government organisation and a disability employment agency located in two socially disadvantaged local government areas in a large Australian city. Seven participants were involved in the study. Each participant engaged in one to three in-depth and audiorecorded interviews, ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours each. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed for concurrent themes using an iterative and constant comparative approach.

Results: Preliminary findings identified the influence of governance systems which enabled or hindered participation and social inclusion. Participants described how such systems directly displayed actions consistent with occupational injustice, such as occupational deprivation. Participants also highlighted positive and negative experiences from attempting to engage with services, such as public housing, drug rehabilitation and welfare agencies. Participants also considered living with socioeconomic disadvantage to be more disabling than their disability itself.

Conclusion: The preliminary findings provided further evidence towards the influence of poverty on participation as well as the importance and essentiality of the social determinants of health towards quality of life. The findings also emphasized how governance systems fostered rather than decreased the ‘disablement’ experience. Finally, the findings identify several implications for furthering occupational science discourse and policy directions to improve opportunities for marginalised citizens.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does an understanding of governance systems assist with our understanding of poverty and its relationship to occupational participation?
  2. What occupations enabled meaningful participation and social inclusion for the participants in the study? How?
  3. What contribution does your research make towards the growing discourse of socio-political contexts and their influence on occupational opportunities in occupational science scholarship?