Carol Gilligan

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Carol Gilligan
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| birth_place = | death_date = | death_place = | occupation = ProfessorUnited 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.She is a professor at New York University and a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge. She is teaching as a visiting professor at New York University, Abu Dhabi. She is best known for her 1982 work, In a Different Voice. Her work has been credited with inspiring the passage of the 1994 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 University.WEB,weblink Carol Gilligan (1936-present), Webster University,weblink" title="">weblink July 16, 2012, yes, July 22, 2012, She began her teaching career at Harvard in 1967, receiving tenure with the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1988. Gilligan taught for two years at the University of Cambridge (from 1992–1994) as the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions. In 1997, she became Patricia Albjerg Graham Chair in Gender Studies at Harvard.Gilligan left Harvard in 2002 to join New York University as a full professor with the School of Education and the School of Law. She is also visiting professor at the University of Cambridge in the Centre for Gender Studies.WEB,weblink Gilligan to Be MHC Commencement Speaker, April 18, 2008, News & Events, Mount Holyoke College, July 22, 2012, 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. 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,

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. 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.


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,

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 = .}}



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