Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women’s Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education

Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women’s Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education

Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women's Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education

In the fourteen articles collected in this volume, Gilligan and her colleagues expand the theoretical base of In A Different Voice and apply their research methods to a variety of life situations. The contrasting voices of justice and care clarify different ways in which women and men speak about relationships and lend different meanings to connection, dependence, autonomy, responsibility loyalty, peer pressure, and violence. By examining the moral dilemmas and self-descriptions of children, high school students, urban youth, medical students, mothers, lawyers, and others, the authors chart a new terrain: a mapping of the moral domain that includes the voices of women. In this new terrain the authors trace far-reaching implications of the inclusion of women’s voices for developmental psychology, for education, for women, and for men.

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  1. Robert D. Steele said,

    Wrote on June 27, 2012 @ 2:51 am

    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    1988 Precious Gem–Richly Deserves Appreciation Today, September 3, 2009
    By 
    Robert D. Steele (Oakton, VA United States) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      

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    This review is from: Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women’s Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education (Paperback)

    Amazon appears to be depriving customers of top reviews from the past–part of a concerted effort they have been making to ease the path for new reviewers, never mind the cost in lost wisdom. I am personally appalled that this incredibly important book, obviously in a new edition, has no reviews carried forward.

    1988 is when this book was published, which for me means that in very personal terms, I have been “out of touch” and “unknowing” of the deep social relevance of this work and its focus on the caring voice of women (as opposed to the “justice” voice of men in both psychology and sociology.

    In a nut-shell, this book is a collection of edited works ably integrated by the contributing editors, which pioneered the “voices” discussion from the female point of view. While there have been many books about the voices of the oppressed, the indigenous, and other marginalized groups, this book focuses on the voices of women in their dialectic with men–women as “caring” men as focused on rational “justice.” I am reminded of Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West and E. O. Wilson’s book,Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.

    Underlying the female focus on caring is the female focus on intangibles such as community and good will…..so much so that I have a note, women may be the archetype of what it means to be human. The book opens very ably with observations about how detachment and dispassion are in fact moral choices with tangible outcomes and consequences.

    The contributing authors make the next logical point, which is that the male moral archetype over-emphasizes the individual and leads to the Culture of Narcissm while de-emphasizing, even disparaging, any culture of community.

    The varied authors make the obvious but important point that how we teach our young will impact on every single discipline and endeavor, i.e. on we perform both the social sciences and the sciences, and how we manage our organizations and networks. In the absence of BOTH the female caring morality and the male justice morality, we are half-human and therefore ill-equipped to achieve what Barbara Ehrenreich calls Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential and Steve MacIntosh Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution

    I am totally engrossed by the discussion of how the same terms have different meanings depending on the perspective, e.g. “improving the city” means investing in tangible infrastructure for the male view, while the female view is more focused on intangible relationships. Similarly, the female view of land is one of “ours” versus the male view of “mine,” and one can easily understanding why Mother Earth is female rather than male as it engenders the more sustainable proposition.

    I have a note to myself; this book is a definitive and vital step in establishing the urgency and necessity of integrating women’s voices as a counter-balance to men’s voices, not just in psychology and education, but across every aspect of human life.

    The contributing authors cause me to realize that “dependence” can be reinterpreted as “inter-dependence,” which is certainly more consistent with Whole System thinking, and that in this frame of reference, dialog is REQUIRED, CONTEXT matters, and blind obedience is idiocy. I have note from the book, “Morality is consciousness,” FULL consciousness.

    The authors teach that morality is not just individual choice in the moment but also choice in the social context (aggregation of moral choices, a very interesting concept meriting more research).

    I feel connected to both Gandhi and Martin Luther King as well as Bonhoffer as the book’s varied contributions make the case of a theory and practice of love, of human RELATIONSHIP as central to moral theory. In many ways I feel that Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom backed into this area from a male perspective, and that love is a wealth-producing practice.

    The book as a whole furthers my deepening regard for DIVERSITY as an essential foundation for adaptation in complex rapidly-changing environments. I quote from the book: “Attention to differences in interpretation, thus, is central to making connections with others.”

    Further on I am impressed by a discussion of morality for the whole, noting that the “least painful choice for the largest number of people” demands both an awareness of pain, and an inclusion of all people, not just the few making the rules and hoarding the…

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