With this paper I am concerned with observing were I think mega pop star Michael Jackson falls within Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. Erikson states that the term psychosocial is meant to complement the dominant theory of psychosexuality. I will offer background information on Erikson and discuss the first four stages of Erikson’s life cycle. I also give some background on Michael Jackson. I will then focus more closely on Erikson’s fourth stage and offer evidence to support my theory that Jackson is in this stage.
Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1902. His biological father was an unnamed Danish man who abandoned Erik’s mother before he was born. The development of identity seems to have been one of the greatest concerns in Erikson’s own life as well as in his theory. During his childhood, and his early adulthood, he was Erik Homberger, and his parents kept the details of his birth a secret.
He is most famous for his work in refining and expanding Sigmund Freud’s theory of stages. Erikson felt development functions by the epigenetic principle. This principle says that we develop through a predetermined unfolding of our personalities in eight stages. Each stage involves certain developmental tasks that are psychosocial in nature. He follows the Freudian tradition by calling them crises. .
The first stage, infancy or the oral-sensory stage, is approximately the first year or year and a half of life. The task is to develop trust without completely eliminating the capacity for mistrust. .
If mom and dad can give the newborn a degree of familiarity, consistency, and continuity, then the child will develop the feeling that the world is a safe place to be and that people are reliable and loving. .
If the parents are unreliable and inadequate, if they reject the infant or harm it, if other interests cause both parents to turn away from the infants needs to satisfy their own instead, then the infant will develop mistrust.