Title

A Theoretical Exploration of the Social Essence of Occupation

Location

Regency Room

Start Time

30-9-2016 10:30 AM

End Time

30-9-2016 12:00 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

Title

A Theoretical Exploration of the Social Essence of Occupation

Intent

Occupational scientists and occupational therapists have historically explored occupation within a social context. From early within the discipline, scholars investigated various theoretical perspectives of social interaction, hypothesizing how these divergent perspectives influence the study of occupation. Today, this conversation continues, unfolding in a variety of directions. Constructs such as “co-occupation” (Zemke & Clark, 1996) and “collective occupation” (Ramugondo & Kronenberg, 2015) offer diverse theoretical explanations for occupation as it manifests through a social world. The intent of this theoretical paper is to critically survey current conceptual understandings of the social essence of occupation – exploring their rigor, congruence, and influence on occupational science methods and insights.

Argument

Current perspectives have developed a rich understanding of how occupation occurs within a social context. Structural social influence has been explored from a critical theory perspective (e.g. Laliberte Rudman, 2013), and commentaries on traditional understandings of social participation (e.g. family occupation, therapy, meditation practices, and conversation) have been discussed in the literature through lenses of systems theories, activity theory, or concepts such as Ubuntu (Ramugondo & Kronenberg, 2015). However, these perspectives have grown from varied philosophical stances, remaining somewhat disjoint or functioning on unarticulated assumptions. This uncertainty influences methodological and analytical approaches utilized by occupational scientists. Therefore, a review of relevant literature will reveal what is currently understood about the social essence of occupation and how the discipline should move forward.

Importance to Occupational Science

Examining constructs currently employed will be integral in developing a theoretically firm foundation for occupational science inquiry regarding social participation. Parsing the assumptions and theoretical assertions of constructs (e.g. co-occupation, distributed occupation, collective occupation, etc…) will nourish the development of a fuller and more rigorous approach to emerging research and practice areas such as the study of community-level occupation and social occupational therapy. By specifically contrasting two studies of family occupation (Segal, 1999; Kantartzis & Molineux, 2014) within the presentation, the benefits and challenges of utilizing these differing constructs can be revealed and discussed.

Conclusion

Occupational science has generated rich and insightful investigation into how humans occupy their social worlds. Expanding this foundation through a critical analysis of existing concepts will push the science toward a clearer and more rigorous foundation for research. This elaboration will, it is hoped, influence how occupational scientists effectively understand and concretely explore the human experience of the social essence of occupation.

Key Words

Social, occupation, theory

Questions/Objectives for Discussion

What does it mean for occupation to be social?

What assumptions has occupational science maintained within its understanding of social and non-social occupation?

What are the practical consequences of employing various constructs regarding the social essence of occupation within research?

References

Kantartzis, S., & Molineux, M. (2014). Occupation to maintain the family as ideology and practice in a Greek town. Journal of Occupational Science, 21(3), 277-295. doi:10.1080/14427591.2014.908480

Laliberte Rudman, D., (2013). Enacting the critical potential of occupational science: Problematizing the ‘individualizing of occupation’. Journal of Occupational Science, 20(4), 298-313. doi:10.1080/14427591.2013.803434

Ramugondo, E, & Kronenberg, F. (2015). Explaining collective occupations form a human relations perspective: Bridging the individual-collective dichotomy. Journal of Occupational Science, 22(1), 3-16. doi:10.1080/14427591.2013.781920

Segal, R. (1999). Doing for others: Occupations within families with children with special needs. Journal of Occupational Science, 6(2), 53–60. doi: 10.1080/14427591.1999.9686451

Zemke, R., & Clark, F. (1996). Occupational science: The evolving discipline. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis.

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Sep 30th, 10:30 AM Sep 30th, 12:00 PM

A Theoretical Exploration of the Social Essence of Occupation

Regency Room

Title

A Theoretical Exploration of the Social Essence of Occupation

Intent

Occupational scientists and occupational therapists have historically explored occupation within a social context. From early within the discipline, scholars investigated various theoretical perspectives of social interaction, hypothesizing how these divergent perspectives influence the study of occupation. Today, this conversation continues, unfolding in a variety of directions. Constructs such as “co-occupation” (Zemke & Clark, 1996) and “collective occupation” (Ramugondo & Kronenberg, 2015) offer diverse theoretical explanations for occupation as it manifests through a social world. The intent of this theoretical paper is to critically survey current conceptual understandings of the social essence of occupation – exploring their rigor, congruence, and influence on occupational science methods and insights.

Argument

Current perspectives have developed a rich understanding of how occupation occurs within a social context. Structural social influence has been explored from a critical theory perspective (e.g. Laliberte Rudman, 2013), and commentaries on traditional understandings of social participation (e.g. family occupation, therapy, meditation practices, and conversation) have been discussed in the literature through lenses of systems theories, activity theory, or concepts such as Ubuntu (Ramugondo & Kronenberg, 2015). However, these perspectives have grown from varied philosophical stances, remaining somewhat disjoint or functioning on unarticulated assumptions. This uncertainty influences methodological and analytical approaches utilized by occupational scientists. Therefore, a review of relevant literature will reveal what is currently understood about the social essence of occupation and how the discipline should move forward.

Importance to Occupational Science

Examining constructs currently employed will be integral in developing a theoretically firm foundation for occupational science inquiry regarding social participation. Parsing the assumptions and theoretical assertions of constructs (e.g. co-occupation, distributed occupation, collective occupation, etc…) will nourish the development of a fuller and more rigorous approach to emerging research and practice areas such as the study of community-level occupation and social occupational therapy. By specifically contrasting two studies of family occupation (Segal, 1999; Kantartzis & Molineux, 2014) within the presentation, the benefits and challenges of utilizing these differing constructs can be revealed and discussed.

Conclusion

Occupational science has generated rich and insightful investigation into how humans occupy their social worlds. Expanding this foundation through a critical analysis of existing concepts will push the science toward a clearer and more rigorous foundation for research. This elaboration will, it is hoped, influence how occupational scientists effectively understand and concretely explore the human experience of the social essence of occupation.

Key Words

Social, occupation, theory

Questions/Objectives for Discussion

What does it mean for occupation to be social?

What assumptions has occupational science maintained within its understanding of social and non-social occupation?

What are the practical consequences of employing various constructs regarding the social essence of occupation within research?