Contesting Occupational Essentialism in a Global World: Critical and Intersectional Methodologies

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Abstract

Focus of Theoretical Paper

A global world risks that the complex realities of peoples’ occupational lives are erased and replaced with an occupational hegemony in which Western spheres of knowing and doing are reproduced as largely unquestionable universal truths. This is problematic given that occupational justice requires social action that is informed by and responsive to the unique and diverse nature of people’s occupational realities. Mitigating this risk requires research methodologies that generate a greater understanding of how occupations are shaped by people’s social identities, including their experiences of racialization, gender, and socioeconomic status, as they intersect with historical, political and socio-economic structures and systemic relations of power.

Drawing on her current research with Aboriginal children and families in Canada as an exemplar, this presentation will highlight how research methodologies informed by postcolonial feminism and intersectional perspectives reduces the risk of theoretical essentialism. The complex and intersectional analysis that is generated by using postcolonial feminism as an analytical framework generates a more nuanced understanding of how gender, class, racialization and historical positioning as they intersect with broader structures shape and constrain individual and collective experiences of occupations and can lead to occupational injustices.

Anticipated Outcomes

Participants will: (a) increase their understanding of research methodologies informed by postcolonial feminism and intersectional perspectives and their relevance to working towards an agenda of occupational justice, and (b) explore the implications for occupational science internationally.

Implications for Occupational Science

International research partnerships that employ critical and intersectional methodologies have the potential to address occupational injustices as they generate more nuanced knowledge on the complexity and diversity of peoples’ occupational realities and the nature of occupational injustices.

Key Words: critical methodology, intersectionality, occupational justice

 
Oct 17th, 10:30 AM Oct 17th, 11:00 AM

Contesting Occupational Essentialism in a Global World: Critical and Intersectional Methodologies

Hiawatha 1

Focus of Theoretical Paper

A global world risks that the complex realities of peoples’ occupational lives are erased and replaced with an occupational hegemony in which Western spheres of knowing and doing are reproduced as largely unquestionable universal truths. This is problematic given that occupational justice requires social action that is informed by and responsive to the unique and diverse nature of people’s occupational realities. Mitigating this risk requires research methodologies that generate a greater understanding of how occupations are shaped by people’s social identities, including their experiences of racialization, gender, and socioeconomic status, as they intersect with historical, political and socio-economic structures and systemic relations of power.

Drawing on her current research with Aboriginal children and families in Canada as an exemplar, this presentation will highlight how research methodologies informed by postcolonial feminism and intersectional perspectives reduces the risk of theoretical essentialism. The complex and intersectional analysis that is generated by using postcolonial feminism as an analytical framework generates a more nuanced understanding of how gender, class, racialization and historical positioning as they intersect with broader structures shape and constrain individual and collective experiences of occupations and can lead to occupational injustices.

Anticipated Outcomes

Participants will: (a) increase their understanding of research methodologies informed by postcolonial feminism and intersectional perspectives and their relevance to working towards an agenda of occupational justice, and (b) explore the implications for occupational science internationally.

Implications for Occupational Science

International research partnerships that employ critical and intersectional methodologies have the potential to address occupational injustices as they generate more nuanced knowledge on the complexity and diversity of peoples’ occupational realities and the nature of occupational injustices.

Key Words: critical methodology, intersectionality, occupational justice