Occupational identity: Engaging socio-cultural perspectives

  • Phelan S
  • Kinsella E
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Occupational identity has been conceptualized with the individual at the core of the construct and assuming that autonomy and free choice are universally applicable constructs. While occupational therapists acknowledge social and cultural dimensions of identity formation and occupational scientists have advocated greater inclusion of socio-cultural perspectives in theory generation, the relevance of these constructs has yet to be examined. This article focuses on current assumptions informing conceptualisations of occupational identity. The individual, productivity, choice, and conceptions of the social are considered in light of emergent theories of identity drawn from anthropology, sociology, cultural theory and philosophy. The authors propose that socio-cultural theoretical perspectives offer generative insights for advancing conceptualizations of occupational identity, and draw attention to a dialectically oriented understanding about how social and cultural dimensions shape occupational identities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Occupational identity
  • Social constructionism
  • Socio-cultural perspectives
  • Theory

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  • Shanon Phelan

  • Elizabeth Anne Kinsella

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