Intergenerational, Unconscious, and Embodied: Three Underdeveloped Aspects of Erikson’s Theory of Identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to highlight three aspects of Erikson's theory of identity that have been left relatively undeveloped. The first is Erikson's embedding identity development in an intergenerational framework. Within this framework, adolescent identity development and adult generativity development are interdependent, and the dynamics of this dyadic interrelationship need to be further researched. The second is the issue of unconscious identity development. I discuss three ways Erikson discussed unconscious identity processes: ‘automatic’, ‘silent’, and ‘sinister’ processes. The third underdeveloped aspect is the body, and the manner in which identity development is theorized as invigorating and vitalizing due to integrating the biological, psychological and social. Attention to each of these issues can serve to broaden our current concept of what identity is, and how it develops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The ideas regarding the intergenerational aspect of Eriksonian thought were developed while working on a project supported by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation (#1541/11).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Dive into the research topics of 'Intergenerational, Unconscious, and Embodied: Three Underdeveloped Aspects of Erikson’s Theory of Identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this