Jacqueline A Taylor: The construction of identities through narratives of occupations.
Subject: Occupational therapists (Practice)
Occupational therapists (Beliefs, opinions and attitudes)
Identity (Analysis)
Pub Date: 04/01/2010
Publication: Name: British Journal of Occupational Therapy Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. ISSN: 0308-0226
Issue: Date: April, 2010 Source Volume: 73 Source Issue: 4
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United Kingdom Geographic Code: 4EUUK United Kingdom
Accession Number: 224520526
Full Text: Jacqueline A Taylor

The construction of identities through narratives of occupations.

University of Salford, 2008. PhD.

Occupational therapists believe that identity is shaped by engagement in occupations, but this relationship has yet to be fully understood. This thesis is an account of a study that aimed to investigate how narratives told about occupations contribute to the construction of identity.

Narratives, extracted from interviews with 17 leisure enthusiasts, were subject to systematic analysis of content, form and interactive elements. This was based on an understanding that identity is expressed in the meanings attributed to the events told in a narrative.

The meanings were used to construct a framework, which provides a basis for conceptualising the 'occupied self'. The framework is organised around three dimensions. The dimension of the 'active self' enables people to present themselves in terms of morality, competence and agency. The 'located self' enables them to present a sense of location in time, place, society and the body. The 'changing self' enables the individual to present the self as changing in itself and in relation to occupation. These facets of the self are manifested and foregrounded differently by each individual.

Based on a narrative perspective, the framework provides a unique and useful theoretical development, structuring and enhancing what is currently understood about the relationship between occupation and identity. The findings of the research contribute to the debate about how occupation is defined and how the meanings of occupation are understood. Other implications are also explored in the thesis. The framework offers practitioners a structured way of understanding the ways in which occupation can contribute therapeutically in the reconstruction of damaged identities.

The method of analysing narratives used in this study has much to offer in understanding occupational engagement. Further research is needed to understand the various manifestations of the parts of the framework and to explore its potential for use as a practice tool.
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