Title

Promoting critical dialogue to advance occupational science and therapy toward social transformative goals

1

Location

Studio 2

Start Time

21-10-2017 9:30 AM

End Time

21-10-2017 11:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Statement of purpose: Within this presentation, we draw from a study that aims to contribute to emerging efforts working toward more critical and reflexive ways to address issues of social inequity and (in)justice through occupation. In particular, the objectives of this study are to critically reflect on the potential opportunities and challenges that may arise when trying to enact social transformation through occupation and examine how these opportunities and challenges are embedded within disciplinary discourses, social processes, and contextual features.

Description of methods: In this qualitative study, a critical dialogical approach (Bakhtin, 1981; Freire, 1970) was used. Five participants from diverse geographical areas were recruited based on their experiences developing and enacting occupation-based projects aligned with social transformative and justice goals. To obtain a multilayered understanding of how participants thought about and acted in relation to the challenges and opportunities that arise within their projects, three sessions consisting of in-depth dialogical interviews were conducted with each participant. To enact critical reflexivity, each participant engaged in a process of responding to their transcripts and critical reflexive documents written by the study investigator. A critical discourse analysis was conducted drawing together material from interviews, critical reflexive documents, and notes using a recursive and non-linear process. In line with critical discourse analysis, this analytical process was grounded in the study’s research questions, theoretical framework, and methodology.

Report of results: The findings provide critical insights into ways discourse and other contextual features shape practice by facilitating, contradicting and/or constraining possibilities to work toward social justice goals. They also describe the complex negotiations behind attempts to enact processes of social transformation and problematize discourses and forms of thinking that have been under-examined or taken-for-granted in occupational science.

Implications related to occupational science: Despite a growing interest in addressing social inequities, the discipline of occupational science seems stuck in moving beyond articulating a commitment to enacting social change (Farias, Rudman, & Magalhães, 2016; Magalhães, 2012; Whiteford and Hocking, 2012). The findings provoke fundamental questions about the role of occupational science in social transformative practices and promote an examination of possibilities for promoting action in this field. As such, this study promotes critical dialogue regarding the contextual features and epistemological frames that shape socially transformative scholarship and supports the advancement of transformative work by bringing together experiential and theoretical knowledge developed in critical occupational science and therapy.

Discussion questions:

a) What are the current and possible roles of occupational science in addressing issues of social inequities?

b) What kind of processes should be enacted within occupational science to capture the complexity of contemporary social issues related to occupation?

c) How can occupational science support processes of social transformation through occupation?

Keywords: occupational science, critical dialogical approach, critical reflexivity

References

Bakhtin, M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin and London: University of Texas Press.

Farias, L., Rudman, D. L., & Magalhães, L. (2016). Illustrating the Importance of Critical Epistemology to Realize the Promise of Occupational Justice. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 36(4), 234-243. doi:10.1177/1539449216665561

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. Bergman Ramos, Trans.). New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.

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.

Whiteford, G. E., & Hocking, C. (2012). Occupational science: Society, inclusion and participation. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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Oct 21st, 9:30 AM Oct 21st, 11:00 AM

Promoting critical dialogue to advance occupational science and therapy toward social transformative goals

Studio 2

Statement of purpose: Within this presentation, we draw from a study that aims to contribute to emerging efforts working toward more critical and reflexive ways to address issues of social inequity and (in)justice through occupation. In particular, the objectives of this study are to critically reflect on the potential opportunities and challenges that may arise when trying to enact social transformation through occupation and examine how these opportunities and challenges are embedded within disciplinary discourses, social processes, and contextual features.

Description of methods: In this qualitative study, a critical dialogical approach (Bakhtin, 1981; Freire, 1970) was used. Five participants from diverse geographical areas were recruited based on their experiences developing and enacting occupation-based projects aligned with social transformative and justice goals. To obtain a multilayered understanding of how participants thought about and acted in relation to the challenges and opportunities that arise within their projects, three sessions consisting of in-depth dialogical interviews were conducted with each participant. To enact critical reflexivity, each participant engaged in a process of responding to their transcripts and critical reflexive documents written by the study investigator. A critical discourse analysis was conducted drawing together material from interviews, critical reflexive documents, and notes using a recursive and non-linear process. In line with critical discourse analysis, this analytical process was grounded in the study’s research questions, theoretical framework, and methodology.

Report of results: The findings provide critical insights into ways discourse and other contextual features shape practice by facilitating, contradicting and/or constraining possibilities to work toward social justice goals. They also describe the complex negotiations behind attempts to enact processes of social transformation and problematize discourses and forms of thinking that have been under-examined or taken-for-granted in occupational science.

Implications related to occupational science: Despite a growing interest in addressing social inequities, the discipline of occupational science seems stuck in moving beyond articulating a commitment to enacting social change (Farias, Rudman, & Magalhães, 2016; Magalhães, 2012; Whiteford and Hocking, 2012). The findings provoke fundamental questions about the role of occupational science in social transformative practices and promote an examination of possibilities for promoting action in this field. As such, this study promotes critical dialogue regarding the contextual features and epistemological frames that shape socially transformative scholarship and supports the advancement of transformative work by bringing together experiential and theoretical knowledge developed in critical occupational science and therapy.

Discussion questions:

a) What are the current and possible roles of occupational science in addressing issues of social inequities?

b) What kind of processes should be enacted within occupational science to capture the complexity of contemporary social issues related to occupation?

c) How can occupational science support processes of social transformation through occupation?

Keywords: occupational science, critical dialogical approach, critical reflexivity