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An Expressivist Psychology of Inhabited Spaces

  • Author / Creator
    Lepine, Christopher B
  • Modern experience is replete with expressions of spatiality. When people try to express their experience for others, they rely centrally upon spatial metaphors to make sense of things. Expressions of being “aimless” or “disoriented” in life, “close” to or “distant” from other people, “inner” and “outer” lives, all tell us something about how people are situated in their spaces. In psychology, too, we often see spatial language used to express how an individual “navigates” or “explores” a space, without much consideration of how the kinds of spatial metaphors used express culturally specific understandings of human existence. I propose a psychology that articulates how human beings experience inhabitation in an inherently spatial manner. I show that the spatial nature of human life requires an interpretive approach centered on expression and space. In this thesis I introduce a new cultural and social psychology based on the “expressivist” philosophy articulated by Charles Taylor and Isaiah Berlin, and exemplified in Gaston Bachelard’s poetics. Unlike the vast number of psychologies that take spatial language for granted, the expressivist arguments explored in this thesis make serious claims about the relationships among language, space and expression. I argue that the language of home is the primary way in which people express their psychological situation. I show how expressivism implies a genuinely cultural and social psychology that acts as an alternative to the “self-contained” conception of the individual inherited from Enlightenment philosophy. In making this argument, I draw centrally upon the expressivist concepts of inhabitation, space and expression. I show how an expressivist psychology can use the languages of space and expression to interpret how people make sense of their inhabited spaces. Ultimately, the expressivist psychology proposed here situates the meaning of personal experiences in common, moral and poetic spaces.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3KC7K
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Baerveldt, Cor (Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Varnhagen, Connie (Psychology)
    • Nicoladis, Elena (Psychology)
    • Mos, Leo (Psychology)
    • Baerveldt, Cor (Psychology)
    • Smythe, William (Psychology)
    • Shields, Rob (Sociology)