This is the little book that started a revolution. First published almost twenty years ago, it made women's voices heard, in their own right and with their own integrity, for virtually the first time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate and continues to this day, in the academic world and beyond. Translated into sixteen languages, with more than three-quarters of a million copies sold around the world. "In a Different Voice" has inspired new research, new educational initiatives, and political debate-and helped many women and men to see themselves and each other in a different light.
Carol Gilligan believes that psychology has persistently and systematically misunderstood women--their motives, their moral commitments, the course of their psychological growth, and their special view of what is important in life. Here she sets out to correct psychology's misperceptions and refocus its view of female personality. The result is truly "a tour de force," which may well reshape much of what psychology now has to say about female experience.
More firm steps Toward a New Psychology of Women - explicitly in the wake of Jean Baker Miller's keystone 1976 work, and in opposition to theories of human development (Freud, Piaget, Kohlberg, Levinson) based on a male model. What Gilligan (Harvard Graduate School of Education) has to say is unstartling: women think differently from men, and give priority to care, or responsibility, rather than to fairness, or rights ("the contrast between a self defined through separation and a self delineated through connection"). On a male-based scale of psychological or moral development, therefore, women will fall short. What is arresting here is the backing Gilligan's researches give to those insights - preeminently, the dramatic contrast between male and female responses (at nine different ages, and in other, separate studies) to the same moral dilemma. . . which then ramifies through the strictly personal testimony. The moral dilemma is this: should a man named Heinz steal a drug, which he can't afford to buy, in order to save the life of his wife? Eleven-year-old Jake, construing the dilemma (as its deviser, Kohlberg, did) as a conflict between the values of property and life, discerns the logical priority of life: clearly, "Heinz should steal the drug." Eleven-year-old Amy appears to dither: "seeing in the dilemma not a math problem with humans but a narrative of relationships that extends over time," she assumes that, if the druggist understood the wife's condition, he would respond - let the wife have the drug and let "the husband pay back the money later." And older women, confronted with the same dilemma (also, in studies of college students and of women considering abortion), invariably focused, like Amy, "not on the conflict of rights but on the failure of response" - except that adolescence (and fear, then, of "adverse judgments by others") made them more unsure. The abortion study provided tentative evidence, however, of an intrinsically female progression "from an initial concern with survival to a focus on goodness"; or, in terms of moral development, from selfishness to responsibility. "When," in adulthood, "the distinction between helping and pleasing frees the activity of taking care from the wish for approval by others, the ethic of responsibility can become a self-chosen anchor of personal integrity and strength." Developmental theorists, Gilligan concludes with reason, should take note. Women will also: like Toward a New Psychology of Women, the book is simple and direct - though by nature, somewhat more theoretical. (Kirkus Reviews)
|Woman's Place in Man's Life Cycle|
|Images of Relationship|
|Concepts of Self and Morality|
|Crisis and Transition|
|Women's Rights and Women's Judgment|
|Visions of Maturity References|
|Index of Study Participants|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 1st July 1993
Dimensions (cm): 20.8 x 14.1 x 1.369
Weight (kg): 0.262