Title

The transactional perspective: An appraisal of theory and application in research

Location

Rock Island

Start Time

18-10-2014 10:30 AM

End Time

18-10-2014 11:00 AM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

The transactional perspective, grounded in American Pragmatism, was proposed as a means to examine and encompass the complexity of occupation (Dickie, Cutchin, & Humphry, 2006). Transaction, in this context, eschews dualisms separating humans from environments and champions occupation as the “relational glue” that binds them into situational wholes (Cutchin, Aldrich, Bailliard, & Coppola, 2008 p. 158). Since its inception, the transactional perspective has garnered considerable interest from scholars across the globe and is currently the most cited article in the Journal of Occupational Science (Taylor & Francis Online, 2013). Conceptualization of the transactional perspective was further expanded in an edited book (Cutchin & Dickie, 2013), with contributions by authors from 5 different countries, and a chapter in a recent occupational science book (Whiteford & Hocking, 2012) with an international array of authors. Given the apparent acceptance of the concept of transaction in many occupational science endeavors across the world, it is time to survey and critique the manner in which the transactional perspective has been used, including identification of where further development seems warranted. The objective of this paper is to promote critical examination and development of the transactional perspective in order to enhance its application in future knowledge expansion in occupational science. We will argue that the transactional perspective is sometimes misunderstood and misapplied in the literature, as in critiques that transaction eschews phenomenological and first person perspectives (see for example, Barber, 2006), despite the fact that Dickie et al acknowledged the importance of the first person perspective as “a necessary [emphasis added] but insufficient [emphasis in original] condition for understanding occupation that occurs through complex contexts” (p. 83). Furthermore, while the transactional perspective is particularly useful in the study of social issues because it allows occupational scientists to adopt a broad scope of inquiry and to shift their analytic foci to group and ecological system level processes, we are uncertain if this potential is being met. We also consider ways in which the transactional perspective might be clarified, developed, and strengthened as a theoretical base that can facilitate international research collaborations and address global social issues. This paper is important to occupational science because it contributes to a necessary scholarly discourse that scrutinizes and develops theory and its application to research.

References

Barber, M. D. (2006). Occupational science and the first-person perspective.

Journal of Occupational Science, 13(1), 94-96.

Cutchin, M. P., & Dickie, V. (Eds.). (2013). Transactional perspectives on

occupation. New York, NY: Springer.

Cutchin, M. P., Aldrich, R. M., Bailliard, A. L., & Coppola, S. (2008). Action theories

for occupational science: The contributions of Dewey and Bourdieu. Journal of

Occupational Science, 15, 157-164.

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.

Whiteford, G., & Hocking, C. (2012). Occupational science: Society, inclusion,

participation. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Oct 18th, 10:30 AM Oct 18th, 11:00 AM

The transactional perspective: An appraisal of theory and application in research

Rock Island

The transactional perspective, grounded in American Pragmatism, was proposed as a means to examine and encompass the complexity of occupation (Dickie, Cutchin, & Humphry, 2006). Transaction, in this context, eschews dualisms separating humans from environments and champions occupation as the “relational glue” that binds them into situational wholes (Cutchin, Aldrich, Bailliard, & Coppola, 2008 p. 158). Since its inception, the transactional perspective has garnered considerable interest from scholars across the globe and is currently the most cited article in the Journal of Occupational Science (Taylor & Francis Online, 2013). Conceptualization of the transactional perspective was further expanded in an edited book (Cutchin & Dickie, 2013), with contributions by authors from 5 different countries, and a chapter in a recent occupational science book (Whiteford & Hocking, 2012) with an international array of authors. Given the apparent acceptance of the concept of transaction in many occupational science endeavors across the world, it is time to survey and critique the manner in which the transactional perspective has been used, including identification of where further development seems warranted. The objective of this paper is to promote critical examination and development of the transactional perspective in order to enhance its application in future knowledge expansion in occupational science. We will argue that the transactional perspective is sometimes misunderstood and misapplied in the literature, as in critiques that transaction eschews phenomenological and first person perspectives (see for example, Barber, 2006), despite the fact that Dickie et al acknowledged the importance of the first person perspective as “a necessary [emphasis added] but insufficient [emphasis in original] condition for understanding occupation that occurs through complex contexts” (p. 83). Furthermore, while the transactional perspective is particularly useful in the study of social issues because it allows occupational scientists to adopt a broad scope of inquiry and to shift their analytic foci to group and ecological system level processes, we are uncertain if this potential is being met. We also consider ways in which the transactional perspective might be clarified, developed, and strengthened as a theoretical base that can facilitate international research collaborations and address global social issues. This paper is important to occupational science because it contributes to a necessary scholarly discourse that scrutinizes and develops theory and its application to research.