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Hannah Arendt’s vita activa: A valuable contribution to occupational science
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Rehabilitation. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. ADULT.ORCID iD: 0002-3309-2816
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Rehabilitation. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. ADULT.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7964-7143
2017 (English)In: Journal of Occupational Science, ISSN 1442-7591, E-ISSN 2158-1576, Vol. 24, no 3, p. 290-301Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Occupational science is undergoing dynamic development and claims have been articulated that human occupation must be understood from multiple ontological standpoints. Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) is known for her work The Human Condition in which she explored human occupation from a philosophical and political standpoint. She distinguished the modalities labor, work and action, and labelled them vita activa. The aim of this paper is to present Arendt and her vita activa, in order to provide examples of its relevance for occupational science, showing how vita activa can assist occupational scientists to take a deeper perspective on human occupation. According to Arendt, human occupation is always conditioned. The condition for labor is necessity, which reflects human biological needs and represents the basics of life. The condition for work is utility, as something persistent and durable is produced. Action is the activity that takes place between people without the intermediary of things. Similar to occupational science, vita activa is concerned with human doing but their origins differ. Arendt also emphasized the public sphere as an arena for human occupation, a viewpoint that is shared with recent occupational science literature. The need to expand the scope of occupational science to encompass all aspects of human occupations, including the deleterious, has been expressed and vita activa can contribute to broadening this perspective. Examples of the need for sustainability in working life are also presented in this paper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017. Vol. 24, no 3, p. 290-301
Keyword [en]
Action, Labor, Philosophy, Theory, Work
National Category
Occupational Therapy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-34886DOI: 10.1080/14427591.2016.1277780ISI: 000414755000004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85011310435OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-34886DiVA, id: diva2:1068447
Available from: 2017-01-25 Created: 2017-01-25 Last updated: 2018-02-28Bibliographically approved

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