An Occupational Perspective on Discourse in Practice: The presentation of desirable occupations within texts used in Dutch refugee integration programs

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Refugees encounter texts such as course books, pamphlets and exams during mandatory integration in the Netherlands. Texts present explicit or implicit messages to refugees on “successful” integration and citizenship.

The What’s the Problem Represented to Be? (WPR) approach from Carol Bacchi, allows us to understand how texts are a presentation of governments see problems, and what is needing to be fixed. Applying an occupational lens facilitates identification of occupations promoted as desirable or discouraged towards those striving for citizenship.

Discourse in integration programs can be considered as a tool of governance, aiming to promote “acceptable” everyday occupations during the transition to citizenship.

This presentation aims to present findings of an initial analysis for discussion. The main aim of the research project, is to explore the impact of differing discourses in integration programs in the Netherlands, including government and citizen programs, to understand the consequences of these discourses on the lives of refugees.

Identify Gaps:
This research addresses important gaps in current integration research. Firstly, this research focuses on texts in practice, while previous research has largely focused on the policy texts. Secondly, this research program will focus on not only government integration programs, but also those who are being initiated and facilitated by citizens in the Netherlands’.

Theoretical Foundation:
Theoretical approach inspired by Foucault governmentality. Critical analysis of discourse in texts is informed by Bacchi’s WPR approach. Concept of citizenship will be framed with Isin’s concept of acts of citizenship. Theories from occupational science, such as occupational possibilities, will facilitating understanding of how occupations are promoted in practice.

Textual documents, utilized in practice, are important to include when exploring the relationship between discourse and everyday doing. It is important to consider discourse as a tool of governance and how it impacts on the occupational engagement of refugees.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2019
EventOccupational Science Europe Conference Amsterdam - Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 29 Aug 201430 Aug 2019


ConferenceOccupational Science Europe Conference Amsterdam


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