Title

Social action in occupational science: Pushing beyond interpretation and understanding

Location

New River Room A

Start Time

3-10-2015 2:30 PM

End Time

3-10-2015 4:00 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

The role of “science” in occupational science, as well as its scope and contribution to society, has been contested. In doing so, scholars have taken up critical perspectives to expose the dominance of positivist/postpositivist notions of science that have bounded the discipline to objective and “value-free” knowledge production and limited its contributions to social reform (Laliberte Rudman, 2014; Magalhães, 2012). Furthermore, the incorporation of critical perspectives into occupational science has resulted in a re-conceptualization of occupation as a political phenomenon with a role in the reproduction of unequal power relations in society (e.g. Angell, 2012; Townsend, 2012). This disciplinary development has involved a shift in political awareness from a political discourse about the positioning of the discipline within health and/or social sciences, towards a discourse about the politics of everyday occupations and the potential of occupation for enacting resistance and social transformation. Although this critical work represents a valuable contribution from occupational science, it is still not sufficient to advance an emancipatory agenda in which the power of occupation is stressed to address the occupational injustices and inequities that are being deconstructed and critiqued (Farias & Laliberte Rudman, 2014). What is more, while exposing the role of occupation in oppressive practices is fundamental, social change may not arise unless we embrace new ways of thinking and doing research that break down the barriers between science/research and action. It is therefore vital to explore and discuss alternative philosophical and methodological frameworks of “science” or research that can provide a robust foundation to enact social transformation through occupation.

Consequently, the authors present an exploration of alternative philosophical and methodological frameworks that challenge the often taken-for-granted notions of science and evidence, and recognize that all inquiry is moral and political. Building on the existing theoretical incorporation of critical perspectives into occupational science, this presentation aims to advance the discipline beyond knowledge generation and critical questioning, towards a study of occupation that is socially meaningful, responsible and committed to social change. In addition, this presentation will advance current discussions within occupational science regarding the need for more critical and action-oriented scholarship by engaging the audience with the “qualitative revolution” that has been taking place in the social sciences and qualitative inquiry.

The authors’ objectives for the discussion period are to:

- Challenge foundational assumptions of what constitutes ‘good’ qualitative research and open up a discussion about research as a form of radical practice oriented towards social change.

- Facilitate discussion regarding how to integrate and embrace occupation scholarship that is socially responsible and meaningful for all stakeholders.

- Engage the audience with current discussions within qualitative inquiry and social sciences regarding research and action.

Key words: Occupational science, Alternative frameworks, Social transformation

References

Angell, A. M. (2012). Occupation-centered analysis of social difference: Contributions to a socially responsive occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-13. doi: 10.1080/14427591.2012.711230

Farias, L., & Laliberte Rudman, D. (2014). A Critical Interpretive Synthesis of the Uptake of Critical Perspectives in Occupational Science. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-18. doi: 10.1080/14427591.2014.989893

Laliberte Rudman, D. (2014). Embracing and Enacting an ‘Occupational Imagination’: Occupational Science as Transformative. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/14427591.2014.888970

Magalhães, L. (2012). What would Paulo Freire think of Occupational Science? In G. E. Whiteford & C. Hocking (Eds.), Occupational Science: Society, Inclusion, Participation (pp. 8-19). West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Townsend, E. (2012). The 2010 Townsend Polatajko lectureship. Boundaries and Bridges to Adult Mental Health: Critical Occupational and Capabilities Perspectives of Justice. Journal of Occupational Science, 19(1), 8-24. doi: 10.1080/14427591.2011.639723

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Oct 3rd, 2:30 PM Oct 3rd, 4:00 PM

Social action in occupational science: Pushing beyond interpretation and understanding

New River Room A

The role of “science” in occupational science, as well as its scope and contribution to society, has been contested. In doing so, scholars have taken up critical perspectives to expose the dominance of positivist/postpositivist notions of science that have bounded the discipline to objective and “value-free” knowledge production and limited its contributions to social reform (Laliberte Rudman, 2014; Magalhães, 2012). Furthermore, the incorporation of critical perspectives into occupational science has resulted in a re-conceptualization of occupation as a political phenomenon with a role in the reproduction of unequal power relations in society (e.g. Angell, 2012; Townsend, 2012). This disciplinary development has involved a shift in political awareness from a political discourse about the positioning of the discipline within health and/or social sciences, towards a discourse about the politics of everyday occupations and the potential of occupation for enacting resistance and social transformation. Although this critical work represents a valuable contribution from occupational science, it is still not sufficient to advance an emancipatory agenda in which the power of occupation is stressed to address the occupational injustices and inequities that are being deconstructed and critiqued (Farias & Laliberte Rudman, 2014). What is more, while exposing the role of occupation in oppressive practices is fundamental, social change may not arise unless we embrace new ways of thinking and doing research that break down the barriers between science/research and action. It is therefore vital to explore and discuss alternative philosophical and methodological frameworks of “science” or research that can provide a robust foundation to enact social transformation through occupation.

Consequently, the authors present an exploration of alternative philosophical and methodological frameworks that challenge the often taken-for-granted notions of science and evidence, and recognize that all inquiry is moral and political. Building on the existing theoretical incorporation of critical perspectives into occupational science, this presentation aims to advance the discipline beyond knowledge generation and critical questioning, towards a study of occupation that is socially meaningful, responsible and committed to social change. In addition, this presentation will advance current discussions within occupational science regarding the need for more critical and action-oriented scholarship by engaging the audience with the “qualitative revolution” that has been taking place in the social sciences and qualitative inquiry.

The authors’ objectives for the discussion period are to:

- Challenge foundational assumptions of what constitutes ‘good’ qualitative research and open up a discussion about research as a form of radical practice oriented towards social change.

- Facilitate discussion regarding how to integrate and embrace occupation scholarship that is socially responsible and meaningful for all stakeholders.

- Engage the audience with current discussions within qualitative inquiry and social sciences regarding research and action.

Key words: Occupational science, Alternative frameworks, Social transformation