Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Carol Gilligan's Levels of Moral Development in Women

Gilligan felt that Kolhberg's levels were flawed. "This was based on two things. First, he only studied privileged, white men and boys. She felt that this caused a biased opinion against women. Secondly, in his stage theory of moral development, the male view of individual rights and rules was considered a higher stage than women's point of view of development in terms of its caring effect on human relationships." (from http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/gilligan.html)

The main difference between herself and Kolhberg:
Gilligan argues that for most women, progress toward moral maturity is marked by changes in the focus of caring, not by the development of the abstract, impersonal principles that Kohlberg proposes. . .

Gilligan admits, however, that both perspectives are valid, in fact complementary. She argues that "a shift in the focus of attention from concerns about justice to concerns about care changes the definition of what constitutes a moral problem, and leads the same situation to be seen in different ways.

(from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v3n1/men.html)

Ironically, her own work receives critism to what she said of Kolhberg's research - "the most criticized element to her theory is that it follows the stereotype of women as nurturing, men as logical. The participants of Gilligan’s research are limited to mostly white, middle class children and adults..." (from http://www.psychology.sbc.edu/Gilligan.htm

Her levels for women:
Level 1 - Orientation of individual survival. The only obligation is to one's own survival.

Transition 1 - Going from selfishness to responsibility. Realizes one is part of a group and makes decisions based on how these actions affect others.

Level 2 - Goodness as self-sacrifice. Morality is defined by meeting the expectations of others and being submissive to the norms of society. Guilt is a powerful tool here.

Transition 2 - From goodness to truth. Truth and honesty are more important than the reactions of others. She starts considering her own needs again.

Level 3 - Morality of nonviolence. The emphasis is on not hurting people, including oneself.


Mexigogue said...

Gilligan was always getting flustered by Ginger but he treated Mary Ann more like a sister. I don't think he ever scored unless maybe he was tapping Mrs. Howell on the side, you never know.

Cosmic Siren said...

I was wondering how long it would take you to post a "Gilligan's Island" comment.