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Moral Development

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In a Different Voice

Carol Gilligan

Selected passages

My questions are about psychological processes and theory, particularly theories in which men's experience stands for all of human experience--theories which eclipse the lives of women and shut out women's voices. I saw that by maintaining these ways of seeing and speaking about human lives, men were leaving out women, but women were leaving out themselves (p. xiii)

My work is grounded in listening. (p. xiii)

To have a voice is to be human. To have something to say is to be a person. But speaking depends on listening and being heard; it is an intensely relational act. By voice I mean something like what people mean when they speak of the core of the self. Voice is natural and also cultural. It is composed of breath and sound, words, rhythm, and language. and voice is a powerful psychological instrument and channel, connecting inner and outer worlds. (p. xvi)

[Anne Barton says in the introduction to Love's Labour's Lost that] men do not know the women whom they say they love. (p. xvii)

. . . the so-called objective position which Kohlberg and others espoused within the canon of traditional social science research was blind to the particularities of voice and the inevitable constructions that constitute point of view. (p. xviii)

I find the question of whether gender differences are biologically determined or socially constructed to be deeply disturbing. This way of posing the question implies that people, women and men alike, are either genetically determined or a product of socialization--that there is no voice--and without voice, there is no possibility for resistance, for creativity, or for a change whose wellsprings are psychological. At its most troubling, the present reduction of psychology either to sociology or biology or some combination of the two prepares the way for the kind of control that alarmed Hannah Arendt and George Orwell. (p. xix)

The differences between women and men which I describe center on a tendency for women and men to make different relational errors -- for men to think that if they know themselves, following Socrates' dictum, they will also know women, and for women to think that if only they know others, they will come to know themselves. (p. xx)

Joining this understanding of women's psychological development with theories of human development which turn out to be theories about men, I have arrived at the following working theory: that the relational crisis which men typically experience in early childhood occurs for women in adolescence, that this relational crisis in boys and girls involves a disconnection from women which is essential to the perpetuation of patriarchal societies, and that women's psychological development is potentially revolutionary not only because of women's situation but also because of girls' resistance. (p. xxiii)

I wrote In a Different Voice to bring women's voices into psychological theory and to reframe the conversation between women and men. (p. xxvi)

Psychological theorists . . . implicitly adopting the male life as the norm, have tried to fashion women out of a masculine cloth. (p. 6)

In the life cycle, as in the Garden of Eden, the woman has been the deviant. (p. 6)

Since it is difficult to say “different”

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