Lifestyle

MARK FEATHERSTONE

Keele University, UK

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs159

The idea of lifestyle originates in the work of the Austrian psychoanalyst Alfred Adler who discussed the idea in his 1929 work, Problems of Neurosis (1999a), and then later in texts such as Individual Psychology (1999b). Following its appearance in Adler's work, the term gradually found its way into American and British popular vernacular, and is now understood to mean a person's general approach to life, especially through their consumption choices. Adler's understanding of lifestyle – or Lebensstil, the style of life – builds upon the classical Freudian view of the formation of the ego. For Adler, lifestyle accompanies the growth of the ego and represents an orientation toward the world which colors the individual's experience of life and shapes their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Extending Freud's general theory of the influence of family upon individual psychology, Adler explains that lifestyle is inherited from the child's environment and earliest encounters with the world. In this respect it is shaped by past events and experiences and influences how the individual comes to understand the present. However, the individual's inherited lifestyle also influences their trajectory into the future because the way in which we approach life impacts upon the outcome of our social encounters.

In this way it is possible to see Adler's concept of lifestyle as an adaptation of the Freudian idea ...

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