Carol Gilligan on Moral Development

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Carol Gilligan (1982) sparked a heated academic debate with her popular book In a different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. In this book Gilligan departs from the traditional sequential stage modals advocated by luminary psychologists such as Piaget (1925) and Kohlberg (1969) and develops her own moral orientation model. Gilligan criticises these theories as she claims they are insensitive to females 'different voice' on morality and therefore result in women achieving lower stages, thereby labelling them morally inferior to men.

Gilligan (1982; also see Langdale' 1986; Lyons, 1983; and Noddings, 1984) proposed that male and females hold different life orientations, with particular emphasis on their moral belief structure. According to Walker et al., (1987) a moral orientation 'represents a conceptually distinctive framework or perspective for organising and understanding the moral domain' (p.844). Gilligan's moral orientation model states that males typically have a justice/rights orientation and females have a care/response orientation. For the purposes of this study a justice/rights orientation and a care/response orientation is operationalised according to the definitions utilised in Brown et al's. (1990) Reading Narratives of Conflict and Choice for Self and Moral Voices: A Relational Method. A care voice is defined by Brown et al. (1990) as describing 'relationships in term s of attachment/detachment, connection or disconnection.' (p.30.). A justice voice is defined as describing ' relationships in terms of inequality/equality, reciprocity or lack of respect' (p.30.).

Gilligan believes that males typically have a justice/rights orientation because of their individualistic and separate concept...

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...amily context the female subject voiced a more care orientation. (One of two t-tests however was not significant). In a neutral context significant gender differences were observed. Luedecke et al., (1998) suggest that perhaps a 'different voice' is perhaps an inaccurate term and a more suitable view would be to see differences in moral orientation as a result of a 'different role' for they argue that as long society holds gender specific role orientations, gender differences will be found. These two studies are interesting in terms of the research in question here. Will female soldiers have a more justice-orientated view if they present dilemmas regarding work? Will female soldiers have a more male justice-orientated view due to the intense training and male dominated environment in which they are working in? Do gender specific roles exist in an army environment?
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