Title

Using a critical occupational perspective to locate – and begin to fill – “cracks” in public policy

1

Location

Armory Room

Start Time

29-9-2016 8:30 AM

End Time

29-9-2016 10:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Topic: Public policies in North America are constructed according to a market view of society wherein individuals are reduced to classifications or definitions that can be easily grouped and governed (Stone, 2012). In these policies, there is an increasing emphasis on citizens’ moral obligations to achieve self-sufficiency through contributions to the market (Schram et al., 2010). The economics-based approach to policy trades holism for categorization and equates work with societal participation, fostering exclusion when people’s situations do not fit neatly within these pre-defined boxes. Attending to public policy requires complicating its application and understanding how policy mandates are negotiated and achieved. If occupational scientists aim to shape public policy, they must grapple with the contributions that a holistic occupational perspective can make within the market-based policy arena, as well as the potential impacts of scholarship that examines the implications of policy for service provision and everyday life.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how the occupational perspective can expose, explain, and begin to fill “cracks” in public policies that purport to support citizens’ everyday lives and societal participation. A pair of presenters from the United States and Canada will present their research about unemployment to highlight the contributions that an occupational lens can make to various policy discussions.

Methods: The presenters will discuss the elements of their multi-sited research, including the multiple perspectives within the policy arena that they are trying to understand through collaborative ethnography (Lassiter, 2005) and situational analysis (Clarke, Friese, & Washburn, 2015).

Intent: The presenters will identify how their research a) addresses specific public policy issues, b) generates knowledge about how policies are “made” through front-line service provision (Lipsky, 1980/2010), c) illustrates the complexities of occupation that are obscured in market-based policy approaches, and d) demonstrates that a focus on everyday occupation illuminates the supports and tensions that issue from policy mandates. Attendees will gain insights into the potential policy contributions that stem from critical occupational science research. Based on these insights, attendees will have a foundation for identifying other social needs and policy initiatives that can be critiqued and enhanced through occupational science research.

Importance to occupational science: This presentation will generate concrete ideas for analyzing and influencing public policy from an occupational perspective. It is important for occupational scientists to understand how public policy can be a vehicle for impacting occupational engagement at community and societal levels.

Objectives for discussion period:

  1. What kinds of data are useful to service providers and policy makers?
  2. What is the cost of neglecting occupational needs in public policies?
  3. What forms of knowledge mobilization can be used to transform service provision and influence public policies?

References

Clarke, A. E., Friese, C., & Washburn, R. (2015). Situational analysis in practice: Mapping research with grounded theory. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.

Lassiter, L. E. (2005). The Chicago guide to collaborative ethnography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Lipsky, M. (1980/2010). Street-level bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the individual in public services. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Schram, S.F., Soss, J., Houser, L. & Fording, R.C. (2010). The third level of US welfare reform: governmentality under neoliberal paternalism. Citizenship Studies, 14(6), 739-754.

Stone, D. (2012). Policy paradox: The art of political decision making (3rd ed.). New York City: W.W. Norton & Company.

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Sep 29th, 8:30 AM Sep 29th, 10:00 AM

Using a critical occupational perspective to locate – and begin to fill – “cracks” in public policy

Armory Room

Topic: Public policies in North America are constructed according to a market view of society wherein individuals are reduced to classifications or definitions that can be easily grouped and governed (Stone, 2012). In these policies, there is an increasing emphasis on citizens’ moral obligations to achieve self-sufficiency through contributions to the market (Schram et al., 2010). The economics-based approach to policy trades holism for categorization and equates work with societal participation, fostering exclusion when people’s situations do not fit neatly within these pre-defined boxes. Attending to public policy requires complicating its application and understanding how policy mandates are negotiated and achieved. If occupational scientists aim to shape public policy, they must grapple with the contributions that a holistic occupational perspective can make within the market-based policy arena, as well as the potential impacts of scholarship that examines the implications of policy for service provision and everyday life.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how the occupational perspective can expose, explain, and begin to fill “cracks” in public policies that purport to support citizens’ everyday lives and societal participation. A pair of presenters from the United States and Canada will present their research about unemployment to highlight the contributions that an occupational lens can make to various policy discussions.

Methods: The presenters will discuss the elements of their multi-sited research, including the multiple perspectives within the policy arena that they are trying to understand through collaborative ethnography (Lassiter, 2005) and situational analysis (Clarke, Friese, & Washburn, 2015).

Intent: The presenters will identify how their research a) addresses specific public policy issues, b) generates knowledge about how policies are “made” through front-line service provision (Lipsky, 1980/2010), c) illustrates the complexities of occupation that are obscured in market-based policy approaches, and d) demonstrates that a focus on everyday occupation illuminates the supports and tensions that issue from policy mandates. Attendees will gain insights into the potential policy contributions that stem from critical occupational science research. Based on these insights, attendees will have a foundation for identifying other social needs and policy initiatives that can be critiqued and enhanced through occupational science research.

Importance to occupational science: This presentation will generate concrete ideas for analyzing and influencing public policy from an occupational perspective. It is important for occupational scientists to understand how public policy can be a vehicle for impacting occupational engagement at community and societal levels.

Objectives for discussion period:

  1. What kinds of data are useful to service providers and policy makers?
  2. What is the cost of neglecting occupational needs in public policies?
  3. What forms of knowledge mobilization can be used to transform service provision and influence public policies?