Things People Do: Toward a Comprehensive Understanding of Human Occupations
Contribute to Journal of Occupational Science
Call for Papers for a Special Issue
Occupational science has made substantial advancements in understanding humans as occupational beings. Through the systematic study of doing, being, becoming, and belonging, occupational scientists have demonstrated the importance of participation in occupation for human health and wellbeing. Despite these significant contributions, occupational science has been plagued by a narrow scope of inquiry that has obfuscated the occupations of millions worldwide, with researchers predominantly focused on occupations considered socially desirable and health-promoting. Research and theoretical considerations of occupations that are not socially sanctioned or a detriment to health and wellbeing is uncommon yet equally important in generating a comprehensive understanding of humans as occupational beings. Further, the majority of research in occupational science explores the doings and meanings of people who are white, western, and middle class. Failing to explore the diverse doings and meanings of a plurality of groups threatens to generate a narrow knowledge base that is not representative of or relevant to the population worldwide.
There remain innumerable forms of occupation that are neglected or have been hidden or silenced, because of social norms, taboos, or their declared illegality by governing bodies. Exploring these occupations evokes issues of normality, difference, and morality. To do so pushes the boundaries of what is considered ‘good’ versus ‘bad’, to provide a more nuanced view of how occupations are categorized and judged by individuals, groups, and populations. Elucidating hidden occupations can challenge assumptions regarding the positive relationship between occupation, health, and wellbeing and expose the processes which envelop people who engage in or are affected by occupations that have been silenced or neglected in occupational science literature. To meet growing calls within occupational science to be socially responsive and address issues of injustice, it is increasingly important for occupational scientists to develop broad understandings of human doings and beings that honor the diversity of humans and the human experience.
We invite research-based and theoretical papers from a diverse range of disciplines to this special issue of the Journal of Occupational Science.
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