Occupation and social complexity
Eakman, Aaron M., author
Applications of complexity science, including dynamic systems and chaos theories, have become ever-present in the social sciences. Diverse academic fields have begun to explore their central constructs from a complexity perspective. Occupational science has also begun to discover complexity science as an explanatory framework to aid in the study of occupation. Theoretical models, principles and empirical findings from a number of scholars of occupation suggest that the tenets of complexity may serve an important role in explicating the nature of occupation. However, applications of complexity science in the field of occupational science have almost exclusively focused on the system level of the human as a dynamic or chaotic system. In this article, I propose that the study of occupation should also be informed by adopting a social complexity perspective. This shift in analytic levels, in part, situates the study of occupation at the nexus of human-to-human interaction. Though a social level of analysis may restrict the attention given to any one individual, the resultant understanding of the manner by which individuals mutually influence each other via occupation would likely extend our views of the form, function and meaning of human occupation.
Final, peer-reviewed manuscript.