Title

A critical analysis of the figured world of occupation

Location

Hiawatha 2

Start Time

18-10-2014 10:30 AM

End Time

18-10-2014 11:00 AM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

Keywords: Social justice, critical reflexivity, discourse analysis

Introduction.

In recent years, occupational scientists have called for critical and epistemic reflexivity in relation to the disciplinary assumptions, beliefs, and values shaping occupation (Hammell, 2009; Hocking, 2012; Phelan & Kinsella, 2009). This presentation contributes to a critical analysis of occupation using an examination of the “figured world” of occupation. Figured worlds are “typical” representations of a particular construct based on taken-for-granted theories and stories developed through experience and “guided, shaped, and normed” though social interactions (Gee, 2011, p. 76).

Objectives.

The purpose of this presentation is to examine the implicit and explicit values and beliefs that contribute to current understandings of the figured world of occupation.

Methods.

An interpretative literature synthesis using the figured worlds discourse analysis tool (Gee, 2011) was undertaken to inform concept development and to integrate theories into the analysis (Dixon-Woods et al., 2005). The literature reviewed included peer reviewed articles published in the Journal of Occupational Science between the years 2000 and 2012. The authors adopted a critically reflexive lens (Alvesson & Skoldberg, 2009; Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992; Kinsella, 2012; Kinsella & Whiteford, 2008) to interpret the findings. Tensions with respect to current conceptualizations of occupation, health, and well-being is discussed.

Results.

It is proposed that there are tendencies to identify occupations as being activities that are viewed as “positive” and to focus on the relationship of occupational engagement to enhanced health and well-being. At the same time, there may be an implicit exclusion of activities that are considered “negative,” “unhealthy” or “deviant” from the figured world of occupation which has the potential to stigmatize and marginalize individuals and collectives.

Conclusion.

The role of occupational science in (re-)presenting occupations is framed as a social justice issue that contributes to social constructions of socially sanctioned ways of doing and being. The authors conclude that occupational science may have a significant role to play in developing critical understandings of social constructions of occupations as moral or immoral, normal or deviant, and healthy or unhealthy. In advancing occupational science, it is imperative to further our understanding of a broader spectrum of occupations that are a part of daily life. This may minimize the possibilities of rendering particular occupations socially invisible (Galheigo, 2011) and further (albeit unintentionally) stigmatizing, marginalizing, and oppressing individuals and collectives.

References

Dixon-Woods, M., Agarwai, S., Jones, D., Young, B., & Sutton, A. (2005). Synthesising qualitative and quantitative evidence: A review of possible methods. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 10(1), 45-53.

Galheigo, S. M. (2011). What needs to be done? Occupational therapy responsibilities and challenges regarding human rights. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(2), 60-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2011.00922.x

Gee, J. P. (2011). An introduction to discourse analysis: Theory and method. New York: Routledge.

Kinsella, E. A., & Whiteford, G. E. (2008). Knowledge generation and utilisation in occupational therapy: Towards epistemic reflexivity. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 31, 67-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2007.00726.x

Phelan, S., & Kinsella, E. A. (2009). Occupational identity: Engaging socio-cultural perspectives. Journal of Occupational Science, 16(2), 85-91.

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

A critical analysis of the figured world of occupation

Hiawatha 2

Keywords: Social justice, critical reflexivity, discourse analysis

Introduction.

In recent years, occupational scientists have called for critical and epistemic reflexivity in relation to the disciplinary assumptions, beliefs, and values shaping occupation (Hammell, 2009; Hocking, 2012; Phelan & Kinsella, 2009). This presentation contributes to a critical analysis of occupation using an examination of the “figured world” of occupation. Figured worlds are “typical” representations of a particular construct based on taken-for-granted theories and stories developed through experience and “guided, shaped, and normed” though social interactions (Gee, 2011, p. 76).

Objectives.

The purpose of this presentation is to examine the implicit and explicit values and beliefs that contribute to current understandings of the figured world of occupation.

Methods.

An interpretative literature synthesis using the figured worlds discourse analysis tool (Gee, 2011) was undertaken to inform concept development and to integrate theories into the analysis (Dixon-Woods et al., 2005). The literature reviewed included peer reviewed articles published in the Journal of Occupational Science between the years 2000 and 2012. The authors adopted a critically reflexive lens (Alvesson & Skoldberg, 2009; Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992; Kinsella, 2012; Kinsella & Whiteford, 2008) to interpret the findings. Tensions with respect to current conceptualizations of occupation, health, and well-being is discussed.

Results.

It is proposed that there are tendencies to identify occupations as being activities that are viewed as “positive” and to focus on the relationship of occupational engagement to enhanced health and well-being. At the same time, there may be an implicit exclusion of activities that are considered “negative,” “unhealthy” or “deviant” from the figured world of occupation which has the potential to stigmatize and marginalize individuals and collectives.

Conclusion.

The role of occupational science in (re-)presenting occupations is framed as a social justice issue that contributes to social constructions of socially sanctioned ways of doing and being. The authors conclude that occupational science may have a significant role to play in developing critical understandings of social constructions of occupations as moral or immoral, normal or deviant, and healthy or unhealthy. In advancing occupational science, it is imperative to further our understanding of a broader spectrum of occupations that are a part of daily life. This may minimize the possibilities of rendering particular occupations socially invisible (Galheigo, 2011) and further (albeit unintentionally) stigmatizing, marginalizing, and oppressing individuals and collectives.