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The meaning of occupation: A hermeneutic (Re)view of historical understandings

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-06, 02:20 authored by Kirk ReedKirk Reed, L Smythe, C Hocking
This article reports the findings of an analysis of historical and contemporary literature which explored how the meaning of occupation has changed over time. A hermeneutic approach, based on the work of Gadamer, focuses on changes of meaning. The core idea of reviewing literature published over a very wide and ancient span of time was to bring the notion of occupation to the fore and shed light on how meanings of occupation are culturally embedded. This article focuses on Western sociology, history, philosophy and leisure texts that ranged from Ancient Greek and Roman times to the Industrial Revolution. The exploration showed that while the word 'occupation' did not exist until the 12th century, there were rich descriptions of what occupational scientists now understand as occupation. While the meaning of occupation per se may have been hidden during these early times, there were many influences that contributed to both the understanding and experience of occupation. Highlighting how historical factors have contributed to culturally embedded meanings provides occupational scientists with insights into the way what is called 'occupation' is shaped, which in turn has the potential to influence current and future scholarship. © 2013 The Journal of Occupational Science Incorporated.



Journal of Occupational Science




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