Title

Rethinking technology’s role in occupations: partnerships, collaboration and more!

Presenter Information

Sumita Rege PhD, OTR/LFollow

Location

Hiawatha 3

Start Time

18-10-2014 2:55 PM

End Time

18-10-2014 3:25 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

Technology is a global phenomenon, and the development of digital technologies, in particular, epitomizes globalization (Ray, 2007). With the increased connectivity that has become an accepted part of globalization, the role of technology has become central to many of our everyday life activities- ubiquitous yet inconspicuous while at the same time remaining deeply ingrained in what we take for granted as essential components of contemporary life. The purpose of this paper is to explicate the easily ignored hidden world of transactions of humans with technological objects that lie at the heart of device-mediated occupations. As Hocking (1997) articulated, occupational performance cannot be understood without the study also of the objects used and produced through the occupation. Technology is not just artifacts and production processes, but also the contexts of the use of that object, and the practices engaged in by the people using it. Yet since technological objects are mostly taken-for-granted, we don’t consider their affordances and constraints in determining the occupations in which we participate. Werstch (1998) suggested that since most human actions are mediated actions, the irreducible tension between the agent and the mediational means are responsible for the action, and any transformations which take place in the action involve changes in this mix of agent and mediational means. Technological objects thus become much more than simply ‘things’ and I propose that they behave as de-facto partners generating actions with concrete recognized functions. Broadly, the argument is that device-mediated occupations should be considered as occurring as a result of synergies of individuals and technology. In addition to the transactional perspective (Dickie, Cutchin, & Humphry, 2006), my argument is based in Werstch’s (1998) work on mediated action. If we take this view then the main point of occupational analysis can no longer remain the dualistic one of an agentive individual and the object used or produced; instead the focus becomes more about the ways and means in which these transactions occur. Given the globally rapid rate of development and transformations of technologically-mediated occupations, occupational science research will benefit from using a holistic perspective of an occupational situation which includes the partnerships which develop between humans and the technologies.

Key words: global, technology, action

References

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.

Wertsch, J. (1998). Mind as action. New York: Oxford University Press

Ray, L. J. (2007). Globalization and everyday life. London ;New York: Routledge.

Hocking, C. (1997). Person-object interaction model: Understanding the use of everyday objects. Journal of Occupational Science, 4(1), 27-35.

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Oct 18th, 2:55 PM Oct 18th, 3:25 PM

Rethinking technology’s role in occupations: partnerships, collaboration and more!

Hiawatha 3

Technology is a global phenomenon, and the development of digital technologies, in particular, epitomizes globalization (Ray, 2007). With the increased connectivity that has become an accepted part of globalization, the role of technology has become central to many of our everyday life activities- ubiquitous yet inconspicuous while at the same time remaining deeply ingrained in what we take for granted as essential components of contemporary life. The purpose of this paper is to explicate the easily ignored hidden world of transactions of humans with technological objects that lie at the heart of device-mediated occupations. As Hocking (1997) articulated, occupational performance cannot be understood without the study also of the objects used and produced through the occupation. Technology is not just artifacts and production processes, but also the contexts of the use of that object, and the practices engaged in by the people using it. Yet since technological objects are mostly taken-for-granted, we don’t consider their affordances and constraints in determining the occupations in which we participate. Werstch (1998) suggested that since most human actions are mediated actions, the irreducible tension between the agent and the mediational means are responsible for the action, and any transformations which take place in the action involve changes in this mix of agent and mediational means. Technological objects thus become much more than simply ‘things’ and I propose that they behave as de-facto partners generating actions with concrete recognized functions. Broadly, the argument is that device-mediated occupations should be considered as occurring as a result of synergies of individuals and technology. In addition to the transactional perspective (Dickie, Cutchin, & Humphry, 2006), my argument is based in Werstch’s (1998) work on mediated action. If we take this view then the main point of occupational analysis can no longer remain the dualistic one of an agentive individual and the object used or produced; instead the focus becomes more about the ways and means in which these transactions occur. Given the globally rapid rate of development and transformations of technologically-mediated occupations, occupational science research will benefit from using a holistic perspective of an occupational situation which includes the partnerships which develop between humans and the technologies.

Key words: global, technology, action