Categorizations Of Occupation: Convenience And Colonization

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Categorizations of Occupation: Convenience and Colonization Inquiry & Integration September 28, 2015 Student #1535021 In the occupational therapy literature, occupation has been conceptualized using a number of different categories. Among others, these categories include goal-oriented categories, such as self-care, productivity, and leisure (Reed & Sanderson, 1980); categories of experience, such as doing, being, belonging, and becoming (Hammell, 2004, 2009b); categories of obligation, such as necessary, contracted, committed, and free time (Dagfinn, 1982); and categories of meaning, such as competence and goal achievement, pleasure and enjoyment, and social connection (Eakman, 2013). As noted by Polatajko, Backman, et al. (2013),…show more content…
In this conceptualization of occupation, the three categories of occupation are self-care, productivity, and leisure. Goal-oriented categorization has similarly been adopted by the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Swedish Association of Occupational Therapists, and the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education (AOTA, 2002; ENOTHE, 2007; FSA, 2005). There are several advantages inherent to this system of categorization. Firstly, these categories are easy to use and understand. Polatajko, Backman, et al. (2013) purport that although there is no perfect way to classify occupations, these categories allow for a simple and “fairly comprehensive categorization of occupations,” (p.42). Indeed, simplicity may be exceptionally important for a professional discipline whose lack of clear vocabulary has historically been a source of confusion among clients and their families, other health care providers, government agencies, and the public at large (Polatajko, Davis, et al., 2013). A second advantage of this system of categorization is that it is fairly comprehensive, as most activities can be made to fit one of the categories. In the CMOP-E, each of these categories can fit a variety of culturally mediated activities, each of which is understood…show more content…
(2013) write that “there is no right or wrong way of classifying occupations; each system serves a different analytical purpose,” (p.42). It is important then to consider the purpose of a system of classification founded in a capitalist context, in which economic value is privileged (Kantartzis & Molineux, 2011). For example, it seems that the goal-oriented system serves to highlight the economic value of occupational therapy, rather than to reflect client needs. In addition, Kantartzis and Molineux (2011) argue that the concept of leisure promotes values such as consumerism and individualism. Not only are these values culturally-bound, but they may promote certain political and economic agendas (Hammell, 2009b; Sheffe, 2011). Hammell (2004) argues, “by prioritizing self-care and productive (economic) activities, occupational therapists [perpetuate] ideologies that denigrate those deemed dependent or unproductive,” (p.297). In Gramscian terms, therapists then consent to and perpetuate the dominance of neoliberal hegemony even as they aim to enable and advocate for clients, which Townsend et al. (2013) suggest is a key skill in occupational therapy (Katz,

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