This paper explores the transition process for military service members as they return to family and community life. It looks at the reintegration of people into socially constructed worlds, as described in first person accounts.
This paper argues the benefits of characterizing occupational transitions as movement between figured worlds, which are socially constructed units that are characterized by particular people and activities, and that shape identities. Further, positive withdrawal, which is a purposeful decision to limit participation when the requirements of engaging surpass selfperceived ability, describes limited engagement with a figured world. To illustrate the utility of this lens, the community reintegration of military service members as they finish deployment and return to family and community life is explored. The figured worlds of military and family are drawn from first person accounts of deployment and reintegration experiences from the perspectives of both service members and spouses. The constructs of figured world and positive withdrawal are found to be useful ways to describe community reintegration for both service members and families and the complex shifts in identity associated with the transition process. The framework presented expands on the occupational science literature by presenting a framework for non-linear, bidirectional occupational transitions in which individuals return to familiar settings rather than enter novel ones. The constructs of figured world and positive withdrawal can contribute to future theory development and research with populations that experience similar occupational transitions.
Alison M. Cogan (2016) Community reintegration: Transition between the figured worlds of military and family life, Journal of Occupational Science, 23:2, 255-265.