Personalization of Private Places for Identity Exploration and Expression: Erikson’s Developmental Approach

By Lily Clara Fidzani and Michael R. Levenson.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Forming personal identities is an important and multifaceted lifelong developmental task. One facet of this task is personalization of space. We generate the meaning of a space by taking possession of it through changing it, to reflect our interests, abilities, personalities, lifestyles, values and, ultimately, our identities. The purpose of this qualitative study was to apply and extend Erikson’s developmental theory of identity formation to include the role of personalized spaces in experimenting with identity formation and expression. It was found that individuals used personal possessions and personalized their spaces to negotiate their developing identities as they interacted with both their social and physical environments. The main conclusion was that changes in identity evolved with changes in house design and interior possessions and vice versa as individuals transition through life stages.

Keywords: Personalization of Space, Possessions, Identity, Lifespan Development

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.315-326. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 996.545KB).

Dr. Lily Clara Fidzani

Lecturer, Home Economics Education, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

Dr. Fidzani completed her Ph.D. from the Oregon State University in June 2010. She is currently a Lecturer at the University of Botswana. Her interests are in personalization of spaces, and identity formation and expression. Her focus is mainly on adolescents and places. She has published a couple of articles on topics related to housing and interior design.

Dr. Michael R. Levenson

Associate Professor, Human Development & Family Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Dr. Levenson received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Irvine. He was Director of the Alcohol Studies Program at the Boston Veterans Normative Aging Study, and then was Research Associate Professor at the University of California, Davis. He then took on an Associate Professorship at Oregon State University. His interests are in exceptional adult development and developmental theory. He has published various articles on topics as diverse as psychopathy and wisdom.


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