Carol Gilligan

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Carol Gilligan
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| birth_place = | death_date = | death_place = | occupation = Professor United States>American| period = | genre = | subject = Psychology, Ethics, Feminism| movement = | notableworks = In a Different Voice | influences =| spouse = James Gilligan| influenced = | website = }}Carol Gilligan ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|g|ɪ|l|ɪ|g|ən}}; born November 28, 1936) is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist best known for her work on ethical community and ethical relationships, and certain subject-object problems in ethics.Gilligan is a professor of Humanities and Applied Psychology at New York University and was a visiting professor at the Centre for Gender Studies and Jesus College at the University of Cambridge until 2009. She is best known for her 1982 work, In a Different Voice. Her work has been credited with inspiring the passage of the 1993 Gender Equity in Education Act.In 1996, Time magazine listed her among America's 25 most influential people. She is the founder of ethics of care.

Background and career

Carol Gilligan was raised in a Jewish family in New York City.WEB,weblink Carol Gilligan, Medea, Andrea, March 1, 2009, Jewish Women's Archive, July 22, 2012, She was the only child of a lawyer, William Friedman, and nursery school teacher, Mabel Caminez. She attended Walden School, a progressive private school on Manhattan's Upper West Side, played piano and pursued a career in modern dance during her graduate studies. Gilligan received her B.A. summa cum laude in English literature from Swarthmore College, a master's degree in clinical psychology from Radcliffe College, and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard UniversityWEB,weblink Carol Gilligan (1936-present), Webster University,weblink" title="">weblink July 16, 2012, dead, July 22, 2012, where she wrote her Doctoral Dissertation "Responses to Temptation: An Analysis of Motives"weblinkShe began her teaching career as a lecturer at the University of Chicago from 1965 to 1966, teaching the Introduction to Modern Social Science. She then became a lecturer at Harvard University in 1967 lecturing on General Education. After becoming an Assistant Professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1971, she became increasingly distinguished and received tenure with the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1988 as a full Professor. Gilligan taught for two years at the University of Cambridge (from 1992–1994) as the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions and as a Visiting Professorial Fellow in the Social and Political Sciences. In 1997, she became Patricia Albjerg Graham Chair in Gender Studies at Harvard. From 1998 until 2001 she was a Visiting Meyer Professor and later Visiting Professor at New York University Law School. Gilligan eventually left Harvard in 2002 to join New York University as a full professor with the School of Education and the School of Law. She was also a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge in the Centre for Gender StudiesWEB,weblink Gilligan to Be MHC Commencement Speaker, April 18, 2008, News & Events, Mount Holyoke College, July 22, 2012, from 2003 until 2009. In 2015, Gilligan taught for a semester at New York University in Abu Dhabi.Best known for her work, In a Different Voice (1982), Gilligan studied women's psychology and girls’ development and co-authored or edited a number of texts with her students. She contributed the piece "Sisterhood Is Pleasurable: A Quiet Revolution in Psychology" to the 2003 anthology (Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium), edited by Robin Morgan.WEB,weblink Sisterhood is forever, University Library Catalog, DePaul University, 2015-10-15, She published her first novel, Kyra, in 2008.NEWS, Gilligan Turns to Fictional Love Story in 'Kyra', Hanson, Liane, January 13, 2008, National Public Radio,weblink July 22, 2012, Weekend Edition, 7 minutes and 10 second excerpt of the radio broadcast., NEWS,weblink Kyra, Thomas, Louisa, February 3, 2008, New York Times, September 16, 2018, Book Review, She is married to James Gilligan, M.D., who directed the Center for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School.WEB, Harvard Office of News and Public Affairs,weblink Gilligan a pioneer in gender studies,, 1997-09-25, 2012-07-22,


Gilligan is known for her work with Lawrence Kohlberg on his stages of moral development as well as her criticism of his approach to the stages. Despite being Kohlberg's research assistant, Gilligan argued that Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development were male-oriented, which limited their ability to be generalized to females. In an article where Gilligan revisits In a Different Voice, she comments "I entered the conversation about women and morality in the late 1960s, a time in the U.S. that witnessed a convergence of the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the movement to stop atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, the movement to end poverty, the women’s movement, and the gay liberation movement. I was teaching at Harvard with Erik Erikson, a psychoanalyst working in the Freudian tradition, and Lawrence Kohlberg, a cognitive-developmental psychologist working in the tradition of Piaget. To all these men—Freud and Erikson, Piaget and Kohlberg—women appeared deficient in development".Gilligan, Carol. 2011. "Looking Back to Look Forward: Revisiting In a Different Voice." Classics@, Issue 9, "Defense Mechanisms,"weblink Gilligan thus proposed her theory of stages of female moral development based on her idea of moral voices. According to Gilligan, there are two kinds of moral voices: that of the masculine and the feminine. The masculine voice is "logical and individualistic",JOURNAL, Muuss, R. E., Spring 1988, Carol Giligan's theory of sex differences in the development of moral reasoning during adolescence, Adolescence, 23, 89, 229–243, 0001-8449, 3381683, meaning that the emphasis in moral decisions is protecting the rights of people and making sure justice is upheld. The feminine voice places more emphasis on protecting interpersonal relationships and taking care of other people. This voice focuses on the "care perspective,"JOURNAL, Kyte, Richard, Moral reasoning as perception: A reading of Carol Gilligan, Hypatia, 1996, 11, 3, 97–113, 10.1111/j.1527-2001.1996.tb01017.x, which means focusing on the needs of the individual in order to make an ethical decision. For Gilligan, Kohlberg's stages of moral development were emphasizing the masculine voice, making it difficult to accurately gauge a woman's moral development because of this incongruity in voices. Gilligan argues that androgyny, or integrating the masculine and the feminine, is the best way to realize one's potential as a human. Gilligan's stages of female moral development has been shown in business settings as an explanation to the different ways men and women handle ethical issues in the workplace as well.JOURNAL, White, Thomas, Business, ethics, and Carol Gilligan's "Two Voices", Business Ethics Quarterly, 1992, 2, 1, 51–61, 10.2307/3857223, 3857223,

In a Different Voice

Gilligan published what is considered one of her most influential works in 1982, after entering the dialogue regarding women and morality in the 1960s. Before she conducted her research Gilligan knew that "psychologists had assumed a culture in which men were the measure of humanity, and autonomy and rationality ('masculine' qualities) were the markers of maturity. It was a culture that counted on women not speaking for themselves”. To explore this theory further, Gilligan conducted her research using an interview method. Her questions centered around the self, morality and how women handle issues of conflict and choice. Her three studies that she references throughout the work were the college student study (moral development), the abortion decision study (experience of conflict), and the rights and responsibilities study (concepts of self and morality across men and women of different ages).Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003. From these studies Gilligan formed the framework for her ethics of care. Furthermore Gilligan introduces In a Different Voice by explaining that "the different voice I describe is characterized not by gender but theme. Its association with women is an empirical observation, and is primarily through women’s voices that I trace its development. But this association is not absolute and the contrasts between male and female voices are presented here to highlight a distinction between two modes of thought and to focus on a problem of interpretation rather than to represent a generalization about either sex." Regardless of the findings Gilligan made from her study, her ethics of care and the fuel for her study have called future researchers to broaden the scope of studies and consider intersectionality more as well.

Ethics of care

In her book In a Different Voice Gilligan presented her ethics of care theory as an alternative to Lawrence Kohlberg's hierarchal and principled approach to ethics. In contrast to Kohlberg, who claimed that girls, and therefore also women, did not in general develop their moral abilities to the highest levels, Gilligan argued that women approached ethical problems differently from men.BOOK, Feminist Philosophies A-Z, McHugh, Nancy Arden, Edinburgh University Press, 2007, 978-0-7486-2217-7, 39,weblink According to Gilligan, women's moral viewpoints center around the understanding of responsibilities and relationship whilst men's moral viewpoints instead center around the understanding of moral fairness, which is tied to rights and rules. Women also tend to see moral issues as a problem of conflicting responsibilities rather than competing rights. So whilst women perceive the situation as more contextual and narrative, men define the situation as more formal and abstract. In her 2011 article about In a Different Voice, Gilligan says she has made "a distinction [she] ha[s] come to see as pivotal to understanding care ethics. Within a patriarchal framework, care is a feminine ethic. Within a democratic framework, care is a human ethic. A feminist ethic of care is a different voice within a patriarchal culture because it joins reason with emotion, mind with body, self with relationships, men with women, resisting the divisions that maintain a patriarchal order”. She calls the different moral approaches "ethics of care" and "ethics of justice" and recognizes them as fundamentally incompatible.BOOK, Contemporary Political Philosophy, Kymlicka, Will, Oxford University Press, 2002, 978-0198782742, 2nd, New York, 2001053100,


The Boston Globe stated that "In a Different Voice has been the subject of so many rebuttals that it is no longer taken seriously as an academic work", and that Gilligan's findings, that differences in moral reasoning had anything to do with gender, could not be replicated."NEWS,weblink Carol Gilligan’s Persistent 'Voice', Graham, Ruth, June 24, 2012, Boston Globe, January 9, 2018, ''Unsurprised by such criticism, Gilligan responded she based her conclusions on interviews, not statistical surveys, and never meant for her ideas to be set in stone: “I thought of the book as the opening of a conversation,” she said, “certainly not the close of one.”WEB, The Book that Listened to Girls,weblink The Attic, 9 July 2018, Her ethics of care have been criticized by other feminist scholars such as Jaclyn Friedman, who argues that the different ethics of women and men are in fact a result of societal expectations. Since we expect women and men to think differently about ethics women and men as a result do present differences. The different modes of reasoning are therefore a socially constructed dichotomy simply reproducing itself through our expectations of how women and men act.weblink titleCarol_Gilligan_CV_updated, August. 2019, websiteGoogle Docs, languageen, access-date2019-10-10, ">

Academic HonorsWEB, urweblink titleCarol_Gilligan_CV_updated, August. 2019, websiteGoogle Docs, languageen, access-date2019-10-10,

  • A.B. with highest honors in English Literature, Swarthmore College, 1958.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1958.
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1958-59.
  • Ann Radcliffe Honorary Fellow, 1958-59.
  • A.M. with distinction in clinical psychology, 1961.
  • Citation Classic:  "In a Different Voice: Women's Conceptions of Self and of Morality" (1977).
  • Mellon Fellowship, Wellesley Center for Research on Women, 1978-79.
  • Distinguished Publication Award, Association of Women in Psychology, 1980.
  • Faculty Fellowship, Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, 1981-83.
  • Lecturer, Christian Gauss Seminars in Criticism, Princeton University, 1982.
  • Outstanding Book Award, American Educational Research Association, 1983.
  • Educator's (Book) Award, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, 1983.
  • Career Contribution Award, Massachusetts Psychological Association, 1984.
  • Invited Address, Division of Personality and Social Psychology, American Psychological Association, 1984.
  • Ittleson Award, American Orthopsychiatric Association, 1985.
  • Blanche, Edith and Irving Laurie New Jersey Chair in Women's Studies, Rutgers University, 1986-1987.
  • Invited Address, Society for Research in Child Development, 1987.
  • Henry A. Murray Lecture in Personality, Michigan State University, 1988.
  • Heinz Werner Lecture, Clark University, 1988.
  • Senior Research Fellow, Spencer Foundation, 1989-93.
  • Tanner Lecture on Human Values, University of Michigan, 1990.
  • Invited Address, Division of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, American Psychological Association, 1991.
  • Grawemeyer Award in Education, University of Louisville, 1992.
  • Notable Book of the Year, New York Times, 1992.
  • Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, 1992-93.
  • Teacher's College Medal, 1998
  • Heinz Award, 1998
  • 2003 Achievement Award, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 2003
  • Visiting Bye Fellow, Newnham College, University of Cambridge, 2003-5
  • Featured Scholar, Clio’s Psyche, 2004
  • International Writer of the Year nominee, 2004, Cambridge Centre for Biographical Studies
  • Fellow Commonership, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, 2004
  • British Academy Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge, 2005
  • Medallion of the University, SUNY at Albany, 2006
  • Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society In Education, Laureate Medal, 2006
  • Eugene Lang Award, Swarthmore College, 2013

Selected bibliography


  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982, In a Different Voice, 9780674445444,
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Mapping the moral domain: a contribution of women's thinking to psychological theory and education, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1989, 9780674548312,
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Making connections: the relational worlds of adolescent girls at Emma Willard School, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1990, 9780674540415, etal,weblink
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Brown, Lyn M., Meeting at the crossroads: women's psychology and girls' development, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1992, 9780674564640,weblink
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, McLean Taylor, Jill, Sullivan, Amy M., Between voice and silence: women and girls, race and relationships, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1997, 9780674068797,
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, The birth of pleasure, Alfred A. Knopf, Knopf, New York, 9780679440376, 2002,weblink
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Kyra: a novel, Random House, New York, 9781400061754, 2008,weblink
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Richards, David A.J., The deepening darkness: patriarchy, resistance, & democracy's future, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge New York, 9780521898980, 2009,
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Gilligan, John, The Scarlet Letter, Prime Stage Theatre, 2011,
  • Gilligan, Carol; Snider, Naomi. (2018). Why does patriarchy persist? Cambridge: Polity Press. {{ISBN|9781509529131}}.
  • Gilligan, Carol; Richards, David A.J. (2018) Darkness now visible: patriarchy's resurgence and feminist resistance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|9781108470650}}.

From the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Co-written with her son Jonathan and produced by Prime Stage Theatre in November 2011. Educational fact sheet about the play.
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Joining the resistance, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts, 9780745651705, 2011,
  • BOOK, Gilligan, Carol, Hochschild, Arlie, Tronto, Joan, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Joan Tronto, Contre l'indifférence des privilégiés: à quoi sert le care, Payot, Paris, French, 2013, 9782228908771, Details.

Book chapters

  • {{citation | last = Gilligan | first = Carol | contribution = Woman's place in man's life cycle | editor-last1 = Nicholson | editor-first1 = Linda | title = The second wave: a reader in feminist theory | pages = 198–215 | publisher = Routledge | location = New York | year = 1997 | isbn = 9780415917612 | ref = harv | postscript = .}}


External links

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