A Political Practice of Occupational Therapy.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Westcott, Lyn
Pub Date: 06/01/2010
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: June, 2010 Source Volume: 73 Source Issue: 6
Topic: NamedWork: A Political Practice of Occupational Therapy (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Kronenberg, Frank; Pollard, Nick; Sakellariou, Dikaios
Accession Number: 229717782
Full Text: A POLITICAL PRACTICE OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY. Nick Pollard, Dikaios Sakellariou and Frank Kronenberg, eds. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2008. 31.99 [pounds sterling]. 264 pp. ISBN 978-0-443-10391-9

I welcomed reviewing this book, which draws on themes familiar to readers of Occupational Therapy without Borders. The book is written by established and new writers, highlighting experiences in Australia, United States, United Kingdom and other European nations. The work is therefore informed by different political climates and models of service.

The work is aimed at occupational therapists who want to develop their political understanding of their practice. Sections 1 and 2 are written by the editors and contribute almost half of the publication. Each has three chapters that discuss relevant theory and explore contextual influences on occupation, outlining some dilemmas in the stated purpose and operation of the profession. The book shifts gear in section 3, where a wide range of real life examples are used to illustrate the relevance of the theory. This part of the book has some engaging examples and serves to illustrate the theory and political debate outlined earlier.

This can be seen as a challenging text. It confronts occupational therapists who see their professional identity as apolitical, embedded within services without challenging the political dimensions that shape these. It also challenges the domestic agenda of occupational therapy by debating issues that are part of the international stage.

Sometimes the writing can feel a little condensed and laden with complex ideas that may be unfamiliar to some readers. Whilst not criticising the content of the book, this style will probably attract more purposeful readers who wish or need to study the concepts discussed, rather than a more casual professional audience. Chapters use a range of formats and writing style. Although this is not unusual for an edited text, it does not enhance the continuity of the work for the reader. Visually, the cover has mechanical cogs and a black and white design. This is not inviting, which is a pity as it may detract readers from browsing through this worthwhile text.

The publication does fill an important gap in the literature, developing debate on issues like occupational justice, deprivation and apartheid and what occupational therapists might do to address these concepts. It will be of interest to finalist students, higher degree learners, educationalists, theorists, managers and those with an eye on international issues. I think its complex and sometimes dense approach at the beginning may mean that it misses the widest opportunity to demand attention from a larger readership. This may limit the scope of the debate it wishes to instigate and the potential impact of its message.

Lyn Westcott, Professional Lead of Occupational Therapy, University of Plymouth.
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