hughesmidterm11107 - 3. Erik Erikson, a Bohemian artist...

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3. Erik Erikson, a Bohemian artist turned psychologist drew up a model for psychosocial development that would build on the breakthroughs and eccentricities of Freud’s work, with a much more complete and comprehensive scope. His model was called Epigenetic, in that it analogized and connected with the development of fetal organ systems, such as the oral at infancy, on through puberty, to the generation/regeneration phase in adulthood, to the concluding phase that ends in death. These physical connections with psychological stages show the presence of a Freudian education in Erikson’s background. Stages in Erikson’s model are drawn out as bipolar, with two diametrically opposed possibilities, and the actual human ego finds itself somewhere between on the spectrum, based on circumstances that build up the ego in a positive pure and unified, or negative and discordant way. In the earliest stages of human life, it is hard to ignore the extreme connection between mother and infant, the manifestation of which, Erikson hypothesizes, is the most basic quality of the ego; trust. The infant derives a sense of trust and distrust in the world around it, relationships with others, and relationships with the ego based on the mother’s nurturing qualities and the outcome and abruptness of the “earliest catastrophe” of biting the mother, followed by weaning. Erikson believes this most basic characteristic development is of hope, which forms the foundational virtue of faith, often but not always in the uniform of religion. Early childhood’s battle is autonomy against shame and doubt, acted out in many societies through the drama of toilet training. The child here is striving to use its muscular systems to achieve an autonomy while still holding on to hope, showing the interconnectedness that all of the stages of Erikson’s models exhibit in making up the whole individual. The virtue at this stage is one of will, contrasted by compulsion and impulsivity caused by anti-ideal circumstances. The play age is where Erikson sees differences beginning between male and female children, and while this differentiation is not inherently sexist, some have accused Erikson’s model of being sexist, a common pitfall for any gendered person to objectively write about the opposite sex or gender. Erikson installs the Oedipus complex into this phallic stage, a stage of exploration and inquisitiveness that will result in some amount of initiative and guilt, for the culmination of a virtue of purpose in “intermediate reality,” or play. The resolution of the Oedipus complex and formation of the superego occur at the sexual climax and latency of the school age. The child, on its
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course R/ST 301 taught by Professor Hughes during the Spring '07 term at CSU Long Beach.

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hughesmidterm11107 - 3. Erik Erikson, a Bohemian artist...

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