Southern Occupational Therapies: Emerging Identities, Epistemologies and Practices

Alejandro Guajardo, Frank Kronenberg, Elelwani L Ramugondo


 For over a decade, debates in occupational therapy have extended into the profession’s theoretical foundations as well as epistemological
underpinnings thereof. A series of proposals have emerged from around the world that aim to link the definition of occupational therapy,
its knowledge and practices to contemporary social, political, cultural and economic conditions. Contributing to this is the increasing
precariousness of the global social life, the economic crises of many social systems, and the deterioration of the ecological environment.
The current paper critically reflects on the historical conditions that shape the institution of occupational therapy, particularly in the regions
of South America and Africa. This involves a political, ethical, and epistemological rethinking of the foundations that underpin identities,
knowledge and practices of occupational therapy and their effects on society. These foundations may favour processes of exclusion and
ahistorical and individualist views of human occupation, as opposed to social perspectives expressed in collective occupations and human
rights promoting practices. The authors propose to problematise the construction of a professional identity, knowledge and practices
of occupational therapy, emphasising the need for a liberating discipline, committed to and acting alongside people and communities
who are in situations of social exclusion. This implies the necessary positioning of occupational therapy within social transformation

Key words: southern, critical, epistemologies, human occupation, human rights

The South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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