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Research Article  |   December 1993
Occupation Embedded in a Real Life: Interweaving Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Florence Clark, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, 2250 Alcazar, CSA-203, Los Angeles, California 90033. This paper was presented at the 73rd Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Seattle, Washington, June 21, 1993
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Stroke / AOTA Archival Issue / 1993 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture
Research Article   |   December 1993
Occupation Embedded in a Real Life: Interweaving Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 1993, Vol. 47, 1067-1078. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.12.1067
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 1993, Vol. 47, 1067-1078. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.12.1067
Abstract

This lecture presents an example of research in the genre of interpretive occupational science and demonstrates how occupational science can inform clinical practice. The innovative qualitative methodology used blended elements of the anthropological tradition of life history ethnography, ethnomethodology, the naturalistic methods used by Mattingly and Schön to study practice, and especially narrative analysis as described by Polkinghorne. The bulk of the paper is presented in the form of a narrative analysis that provides an account of a stroke survivor’s personal struggle for recovery, a story that emerged from transcription, coding, and analysis of transcripts from approximately 20 hours of interview time. First, this narrative analysis provides an example of how the occupational science framework can evoke a particular kind of storytelling in which childhood occupation can be related to adult character. Storytelling of this kind is later shown to be therapeutic for the stroke survivor. Next, the narrative illustrates how rehabilitation can be experienced by the survivor as a rite of passage in which a person is moved to disability status and then abandoned. Finally, a picture is given of how occupational story making and occupational storytelling embedded in real life can nurture the human spirit to act and can become the core of clinical practice.