Utopian visions/dystopian realities

Exploring practice and taking action to enable human rights and occupational justice in a hospital context

Danika Galvin*, Clare Wilding, Gail Whiteford

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Aim: This article reports some preliminary findings of an Australian action research project that aimed to investigate, and affect, occupational therapists' understanding of human rights theory and occupational justice philosophy in everyday occupational therapy practice. Method: Over the course of one year, nine therapists from a range of practice areas in a major metropolitan hospital participated in monthly discussion groups. Narrative data was collected through audio-recording and transcribing the discussions. Data was qualitatively analysed using line-by-line coding and theme-building. Results: Two preliminary themes are discussed herein: the invisibility of human rights issues in an Australian occupational therapy setting and the dissonance between the ideal and the reality of human rights practice in occupational therapy. Conclusion: The authors suggest that through discussion, and with the support of a community of practice dedicated to exploring human rights and occupational justice issues, occupational therapists can increase their awareness of human rights challenges. And, therapists can increase their actions to better enable occupational justice in their practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)378-385
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


    • Action research
    • Continuing professional development
    • Critical reflexivity
    • Enablement
    • Occupation

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