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A major contribution to theories of moral development and gender studies, In a Different Voice by Carol Gilligan presents a critique to the prevailing understanding of women's psychosocial development, especially in reference to Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Analyzing women's response in Kohlberg's and her own studies, Gilligan concludes that the voice of women has been excised and distorted by the androcentric psychological theories. Gilligan finds that woman develop an ethics of care based on trying to maintain connectedness after the resolution of moral dilemn. This differs from ethics of justice that is typicall of men that decides moral issues of individual rights.

Woman as abnormalEdit

In the opening chaper, Gilligan shows how women's psychology has been considered inferior because it does not correspond with that of men. She even traces this understanding of woman as developmentally deviant back the biblical thought: "It all goes back, of course, to Adam and Eve — a story which shows, among other things, that if you make a woman out of man, you are bound to get into trouble. In the life cycle, as in the Garden of Eden, the woman has been the deviant[1] In psychology, Freud brings female deviance into psychology through his theory of psychosexual development.


  1. Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice. Cambridge, MA: Havard University Press, 1982. p.6.
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