Professor Carol Gilligan originally published her book, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development, in 1982. The popularity of the book caused the book to go through numerous printings and its reissuing in 1993 by Harvard University Press. Known as the little book that started a revolution (as cited in Gilligan, 1993), the book has broad appeal, selling close to a million copies and translated into sixteen languages (as cited in Gilligan, 1993). Due to both the popularity and controversy surrounding In a Different Voice, I chose to do an original source book review on her work. The purpose of this review is to look in depth at one development theory studies in the College Student Development Theory course at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This review will provide the format of the book and a summary of the key points, a look at Gilligan's theoretical framework, questions on the book and the theoretical framework, strengths and weaknesses of the book, suggestions for improvements, other personal reactions and comments, and concluding thoughts on the book.
[...] She also criticizes the work of Erikson, saying that his study was of a “male child” and for females, Erikson finds that holds her identity in abeyance as she prepares to attract the man by whose name she will be known, by whose status she will be defined, the man who will rescue her from emptiness and loneliness by filling the inner space” (p. 12). Finally, Gilligan focuses her criticism on the work of Kohlberg. She states that his theoretical conceptualization of the six stages of moral development is done by studying “eighty-four boys” (p. [...]
[...] Since she did not present her own conceptualization of a model for women in the first article, but did in the book, it is understandable that she would take this section out. Leaving this statement in the book would have cast shadow on the model she was presenting, as truth, in the following chapters. In addition, in the first article, where she had one female sample, Gilligan used quotes from the twenty-five year old and stated that she was a Harvard Law student. [...]
[...] Would a women going through an abortion in an extremely conservative area of the country versus an extremely liberal area of the country experience the same moral development? In addition, if the entire model came from this one study, are lesbian or other sexual minority women included in her conceptualization of moral development? Gilligan did not provide any information that would lead the reader to believe that any of the women were lesbian or other sexual minorities. In the abortion decision study Gilligan again did not represent all twenty- four women she interviewed for the study. [...]
[...] Finally, in her discussion of Lever, Gilligan points out that according to Lever, if a woman wants to be successful in a men's world, with men's games, she must play by their rules. Gilligan's model shows that women, who develop in a healthy fashion, will not play by men's rules. What implication does this have toward the success of women in current social structures? Strengths and Weaknesses Gilligan's work has numerous strengths but unfortunately falls to many weaknesses as well. [...]
[...] She points to methodological errors and biases of the theories, where researchers mostly, or in some cases only, focused on male samples; thus, leaving the voices of women out of their studies and out of their theoretical conceptualizations. Although she continues to criticize the works of these authors throughout the book, the first chapter provides the greatest amount of criticism. This formation captivates the reader, as she makes it easy to see the gender based flaws in the studies of some of the best known psychological development theorists, and draws the reader to continue with her book, seeking a new understanding of women. [...]
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