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The gift and the labor of gratitude : reflections on generativity in adult development

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The gift and the labor of gratitude : reflections on generativity in adult development

Schouela, Daniel A (2005) The gift and the labor of gratitude : reflections on generativity in adult development. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis proposes that, following their assumption of those roles and responsibilities they believe will constitute them as independent adults, individuals during adulthood optimally find themselves summoned to recognize their relative lack of self-sufficiency. More specifically, the view articulated here suggests that the psychic work at the heart of adulthood concerns the progressive acknowledgment of temporality and interdependence as fundamental dimensions of human life. The perspective formulated in this study attempts to amplify Erik Erikson's contributions concerning the centrality of intergenerational relations in adult development and his psychodynamic emphasis on the experience and resolution of conflict in personal transformation. In this regard, Erikson's conception of the vital virtue of adulthood---generativity---is considered in relation to the ideas of gift and gratitude and it is posited that the generative capacity to give is dialectically related to the capacity to feel grateful for the gifts one has received. The capacity to gratefully acknowledge that one is and has been the recipient of benefits bestowed by others is taken to be a complex developmental achievement. It requires the recognition that one is situated temporally in a web of interpersonal relations and the simultaneous renunciation of the pursuit of self-sufficiency and invulnerability. In this connection, gratitude, and in turn the capacity to give, are viewed as the fruit of an ongoing labor by way of which persons sustain an awareness of their indebtedness, overcome their sense of inequality in reference to their benefactors, and come to experience themselves as having something of value to transmit to others.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Schouela, Daniel A
Pagination:vi, 98 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Masoan, S
ID Code:8417
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:24
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:24
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