The construction of identities through narratives of occupations

Taylor, JA 2008, The construction of identities through narratives of occupations , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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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 which 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 occupations 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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Kay, S (Supervisor)
Themes: Subjects / Themes > R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Depositing User: Dr Jackie Taylor
Date Deposited: 29 May 2009 10:59
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 22:08

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