Home making and identity: a psychology of personality processes in North East Scotland.
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This thesis investigates the roles of identity and personality in the home making process. Well-known approaches to identity typically define context in social or temporalterms, largely neglecting the physical environment. Personalisation of the dwelling has been argued to function in self-definition and self-presentation, yet only a small body of research corroborates such theories. Personalisation of the dwelling therefore presents an ideal context within which to explore identity processes in the physical environment. The thesis argues that the connection of identity to a dwelling has strong psychological implications for dwellers. Such implications are investigated, particularly in relation to meanings of home. The first study explores psychological and social drivers on the personalisation process through interviews with people who have converted farm buildings to home use. In the second study, attitudes towards home making behaviours are investigated in relation to social and personal identity orientations. The study explores whether such identity-based personality traits influence the way in which the dwelling is used as a means of self-definition. In the third and final study in-depth interviews are carried out with people living in typical Aberdeenshire dwellings. These interviews explore the ways in which identity and personality are connected to the dwelling and how these contribute to the process of home. Quantitative findings suggest that only a small relationship exists between identity orientations and personalisation. However qualitative findings in particular from the third study show a strong link between various aspects of identity and the dwelling. The ways in which identity is connected to the dwelling vary as a function of personality differences. Importantly these connections contribute to the process of home. This research constitutes contributions to a number of research areas, in particular home research and research exploring the role of personalisation and possessions. The research brings together identity, personality and home - areas which have not previously been explored together in great detail. The thesis presents a valuable framework within which to study the interactions of place, personality and identity processes and therefore makes an important contribution to a number of academic fields, in particular environmental psychology and built environment research.