Abstract

Emphasis on knowing and doing as focal concerns of occupational therapy has tended to overshadow being as an essential ingredient of human experience. This article advocates greater concern with understanding our clients’ being in place – that is, their immersion within a lifeworld that provides the culturally defined spatiotemporal setting or horizon of their everyday lives. It is suggested that naturalistic and qualitative research strategies are appropriate for the exploration of this realm of experience. Illustration is provided from an ethnographic study of aging in a rural Appalachian community. The time–space rhythms of taken-for-granted behavior, the significance of the surveillance zone (space within the visual field of the dwelling), and the way in which the environment may come to be a component of the self, are identified as themes within being in place that have significant implications for enhancing occupational therapy practice.

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