Creating Focused Groupwork Through the Florence Knoll

Lifestyle is a group’s or family’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and orientations toward life. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his famous essay, The Case of Miss R. in 1930. According to Adler, lifestyle describes a human tendency toward organized, guided, directed action. In his definition, he includes such things as social behavior, work style, educational achievements, personal tastes, cultural beliefs, occupational status, values, and interpersonal relationships.

Lifestyle has sometimes been confused with social media. The two words are often used interchangeably; however, they are not the same thing. Social media is a category of phenomena that emerged in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century that include: blogging, social networking, and collaborative online interaction.

The concept of social media is somewhat related to the concept of lifestyle content. In this case, the two concepts are used to describe two distinct aspects of modern individual psychology. Although Adler’s model is considered to be the main source of definition for lifestyle content, the work of Wolfe is considered important as well.

Wolfe’s primary model focuses on six elements of lifestyle. These are purpose, relationships, social environments, beliefs, attitudes, and resources. Each element is analyzed within Wolfe’s model in order to determine if there is a general societal context in which the individual exists. These elements then serve as the basis of his theories of social construction and role construction.

According to Hodder and Brewer (eds), lifestyle models have their origin in the work of Weber. Weber believes that all individuals share commonalities and similarities, but that people can vary widely in their ability to interact with each other and to create meaningful connections. These differences lead to the need for regulating interpersonal relationships through norms and values systems. Hodder and Brewer also note that Weber postulates that these differences can also account for the existence of a variety of cultural groups.

Hodder and Brewer point out that many lifestyle approaches draw on the work of Adler and Berson. Specifically, they draw on the work of Berson to suggest that the model of three primary models can be applied to nearly every case. These include the Role theory, the Role orientation, and the Temperament theory. With these three theories, Hodder and Brewer suggest that an individual psychology profile can be described using a variety of psychological characteristics. These profiles, in turn, can then be used to predict an individual’s behavior.

Another aspect of Hodder and Brewer’s book is their criticism of mainstream models of individual psychology. The two researchers specifically point out social construction as an important contributor to our personal experiences and that this contributed to the sources of difference found in contemporary lifestyles. In their research, they claim to have found the existence of four separate components to modern lifestyles: individualism, socialism, collectivism, and freedom. The four different perspectives are reflected in the different ways people interact with one another, the types of communities they participate in, and the types of places they frequent. Social construction, they claim, accounts for differences in norms across the board.

The contributors to the Florence Knoll include experts from disciplines such as anthropology, business, education, English, gender, geography, history, marketing, science, sociology, technology, to name a few. The book is a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in creating and maintaining social capital. It will most likely be of interest to scholars, journalists, business leaders, teachers, and parents alike. A quick review shows that this is a book that is well-designed, easily read, and enriched by engaging conversation. With this knowledge, we can begin to improve our lifestyles by fostering relationships through focused groups.