Title

Collective occupation in a Greek town

Location

Rock Island

Start Time

17-10-2014 10:30 AM

End Time

17-10-2014 11:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

There is an emerging recognition of the need to consider collective occupation, in contrast to the traditional focus on the occupation of individuals. This discussion takes a variety of perspectives, including exploring occupation as distributed across populations, communities, groups and individuals in the USA (Fogelberg & Frauworth, 2010), and from Africa exploring the intentionality of such occupation towards social cohesion or dysfunction, advancing or aversion to a common good (Ramugondo & Kronenberg 2013). Furthermore, explorations of agency from a transactional perspective support the importance of understanding occupation as essentially constituted through the multiple elements of the situation including the social (Dickie, Cutchin & Humphrey, 2006). This study developed further understandings of this emerging concept through exploration of occupation in the context of a Greek town.

Methods: Using ethnographic methodology the first author spent 270 days over a 30-month period in a Greek town with the aim of exploring occupation. Observations, experiences of participation, conversations, and a small number of interviews formed the primary data, supported by photographs, local documents and websites. The narrative form of daily life (Ricoeur, 2008) was analysed to develop a narrative of occupation in the town, with occupation as the action of the narrative. Ethics approval was obtained.

Results: A transactional perspective underpinned the understanding of occupation that emerged. Occupation in the town was a dynamic and multidimensional process, which worked to maintain not only the self, but also the family and the social fabric, the latter through collective occupation. Collective occupation included: informal daily encounters in public spaces that (re)constructed occupational networks enabling experiences of trust, sharing and information exchange; participation in local associations embedding experiences of protest and organisation; and community celebrations and events embedding experiences of enhanced emotional expression.

Conclusion: The power present in the potential of people acting together, recognised since Aristotle’s writings on the polis, was evident in collective occupation in the town. It enabled experiences beyond that of the individual, working to construct and maintain the particular social fabric of the town, promoting not only flourishing but also marginalisation and discrimination.

Contribution to occupational science: This study contributes to the current exploration of collective occupation, particularly in understanding the power of collective agency and its importance in constructing living spaces which can promote flourishing.

Key words: Greece, social fabric, power

References

Dickie, V., Cutchin, M. P., & Humphry, R. (2006). Occupation as transactional experience: A critique of individualism in occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 13 (1), 83-93. doi:10.1080/14427591.2006.9686573

Fogelberg, D., & Frauworth, S. (2010). A complexity science approach to occupation: Moving beyond the individual. Journal of Occupational Science, 17(3), 131-139. doi:10.1080/14427591.2010.9686687

Ramugondo, E., & Kronenberg, F. (2013). Explaining collective occupations from a human relations perspective: Bridging the individual-collective dichotomy. Journal of Occupational Science. doi:10.1080/14427591.2013.781920

Ricoeur, P. (2008). From text to action (J. Blarney K. & Thompson, Trans.). London: Continuum. (Original work published 1986)

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

Collective occupation in a Greek town

Rock Island

There is an emerging recognition of the need to consider collective occupation, in contrast to the traditional focus on the occupation of individuals. This discussion takes a variety of perspectives, including exploring occupation as distributed across populations, communities, groups and individuals in the USA (Fogelberg & Frauworth, 2010), and from Africa exploring the intentionality of such occupation towards social cohesion or dysfunction, advancing or aversion to a common good (Ramugondo & Kronenberg 2013). Furthermore, explorations of agency from a transactional perspective support the importance of understanding occupation as essentially constituted through the multiple elements of the situation including the social (Dickie, Cutchin & Humphrey, 2006). This study developed further understandings of this emerging concept through exploration of occupation in the context of a Greek town.

Methods: Using ethnographic methodology the first author spent 270 days over a 30-month period in a Greek town with the aim of exploring occupation. Observations, experiences of participation, conversations, and a small number of interviews formed the primary data, supported by photographs, local documents and websites. The narrative form of daily life (Ricoeur, 2008) was analysed to develop a narrative of occupation in the town, with occupation as the action of the narrative. Ethics approval was obtained.

Results: A transactional perspective underpinned the understanding of occupation that emerged. Occupation in the town was a dynamic and multidimensional process, which worked to maintain not only the self, but also the family and the social fabric, the latter through collective occupation. Collective occupation included: informal daily encounters in public spaces that (re)constructed occupational networks enabling experiences of trust, sharing and information exchange; participation in local associations embedding experiences of protest and organisation; and community celebrations and events embedding experiences of enhanced emotional expression.

Conclusion: The power present in the potential of people acting together, recognised since Aristotle’s writings on the polis, was evident in collective occupation in the town. It enabled experiences beyond that of the individual, working to construct and maintain the particular social fabric of the town, promoting not only flourishing but also marginalisation and discrimination.

Contribution to occupational science: This study contributes to the current exploration of collective occupation, particularly in understanding the power of collective agency and its importance in constructing living spaces which can promote flourishing.

Key words: Greece, social fabric, power