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date: 19 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter shows that any full exploration of generativity, the emerging midlife desire to invest in the well-being of younger and future generations, must account for the salience of culture. The chapter begins with a close examination of Erikson’s initial writings regarding generativity and culture, with a focus on his mid-century observations of the Sioux and Yurok tribes and his analysis of two generativity myths: Hitler’s 1941 Mein Kampf and a 1938 film about Maxim Gorky’s youth. This is followed by an evaluation of generativity scholarship after Erikson that has been mindful of culture. The authors end the chapter by presenting a set of suggestions for ideal modes of inquiry as this area of scholarship is advanced in the future.

Keywords: generativity, culture, Erik Erikson, personality, midlife development, custom complex, emic vs. etic, Japanese culture, Mexican-American culture, narrative

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