In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development

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Overview

This is the little book that started a revolution, making women's voices heard, in their own right and with their own integrity, for virtually the first time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate and continues to this day, in the academic world and beyond. Translated into sixteen languages, with more than 700,000 copies sold around the world, In a Different Voice has inspired new research, new educational initiatives, and political debate—and helped many women and men to see themselves and each other in a different light.
Carol Gilligan believes that psychology has persistently and systematically misunderstood women—their motives, their moral commitments, the course of their psychological growth, and their special view of what is important in life. Here she sets out to correct psychology's misperceptions and refocus its view of female personality. The result is truly a tour de force, which may well reshape much of what psychology now has to say about female experience.

Carol Gilligan believes that psychology has persistently and systematically misunderstood women. Repeatedly, developmental theories have been built on observations of men's lives. Here, Gilligan attempts to correct psychology's misperceptions and refocus its view of female personality. The result reshapes our understanding of human experience.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

Theories of moral development are not mere abstractions. They matter—to the way children are raised, to female and male self-esteem, as ammunition for personal and political attack—and that is why Carol Gilligan's book is important… [It] is consistently provocative and imaginative.
— Carol Tavris

New York Times Syndicate

Girls in our society learn early on that they are expected to behave in certain ways. In her 1982 book In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan, a psychologist at Harvard University, wrote about the powerful messages young girls receive from those around them. Girls are expected to be compliant, quiet and introspective. They soon learn that they should suppress any open expression of aggression or even strong non-compliant feelings. They also learn…to value relationships more than rules.
— T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

Vogue

It has the charge of a revelation… [Gilligan] flips old prejudices against women on their ears. She reframes qualities regarded as women's weaknesses and shows them to be human strengths. It is impossible to consider [her] ideas without having your estimation of women rise.
— Amy Gross

Boston Globe

Gilligan's book is feminism at its best… Her thesis is rooted not only in research but in common sense… Theories of human development are never more limited or limiting than when their bias is invisible, and Gilligan's book performs the vital service of illuminating one of the deepest biases of all.
— Alfie Kohn

Contemporary Psychology

A profound and profoundly important book. It poses a challenge to psychology… But it may be just what we need to revitalize our field and bring it into a more meaningful alignment with reality.
— Elizabeth Douvan

Washington Post

To those of us searching for a better understanding of the way men and women think and the different values we bring to public problems and to our private lives, [this book] is of enormous importance.
— Judy Mann

New York Times Book Review - Carol Tavris
Theories of moral development are not mere abstractions. They matter—to the way children are raised, to female and male self-esteem, as ammunition for personal and political attack—and that is why Carol Gilligan's book is important… [It] is consistently provocative and imaginative.
New York Times Syndicate - T. Berry Brazelton
Girls in our society learn early on that they are expected to behave in certain ways. In her 1982 book In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan, a psychologist at Harvard University, wrote about the powerful messages young girls receive from those around them. Girls are expected to be compliant, quiet and introspective. They soon learn that they should suppress any open expression of aggression or even strong non-compliant feelings. They also learn…to value relationships more than rules.
Vogue - Amy Gross
It has the charge of a revelation… [Gilligan] flips old prejudices against women on their ears. She reframes qualities regarded as women's weaknesses and shows them to be human strengths. It is impossible to consider [her] ideas without having your estimation of women rise.
Boston Globe - Alfie Kohn
Gilligan's book is feminism at its best… Her thesis is rooted not only in research but in common sense… Theories of human development are never more limited or limiting than when their bias is invisible, and Gilligan's book performs the vital service of illuminating one of the deepest biases of all.
Contemporary Psychology - Elizabeth Douvan
A profound and profoundly important book. It poses a challenge to psychology… But it may be just what we need to revitalize our field and bring it into a more meaningful alignment with reality.
Washington Post - Judy Mann
To those of us searching for a better understanding of the way men and women think and the different values we bring to public problems and to our private lives, [this book] is of enormous importance.
Lawrence Kohlberg
An important and original contribution to the understanding of human moral development in both men and women. Carol Gilligan writes with literary grace and a real sensitivity to the women she interviewed… Her book has important implications for philosophical as well as psychological theory.
Vogue
It has the charge of a revelation...[Gilligan] flips old prejudices against women on their ears. She reframes qualities regarded as women's weaknesses and shows them to be human strengths. It is impossible to consider [her] ideas without having your estimation of women rise.
— Amy Gross
Washington Post
To those of us searching for a better understanding of the way men and women think and the different values we bring to public problems and to our private lives, [this book] is of enormous importance.
— Judy Mann
Boston Globe
Gilligan's book is feminism at its best...Her thesis is rooted not only in research but in common sense...Theories of human development are never more limited or limiting than when their bias is invisible, and Gilligan's book performs the vital service of illuminating one of the deepest biases of all.
— Alfie Kohn
New York Times Book Review
Theories of moral development are not mere abstractions. They matter--to the way children are raised, to female and male self-esteem, as ammunition for personal and political attack--and that is why Carol Gilligan's book is important...[It] is consistently provocative and imaginative.
— Carol Tavris
Contemporary Psychology
A profound and profoundly important book. It poses a challenge to psychology...But it may be just what we need to revitalize our field and bring it into a more meaningful alignment with reality.
— Elizabeth Douvan
New York Times Syndicate
Girls in our society learn early on that they are expected to behave in certain ways. In her 1982 book In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan, a psychologist at Harvard University, wrote about the powerful messages young girls receive from those around them. Girls are expected to be compliant, quiet and introspective. They soon learn that they should suppress any open expression of aggression or even strong non-compliant feelings. They also learn...to value relationships more than rules.
— T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
Ms.Magazine.com
In her book In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan demonstrates that men and women speak in 'different voices.' Through research, Gilligan has found that psychological development theories repeatedly have been built on observations of men’s lives, thus creating misperceptions of women.
Booknews
**** New printing of the 1982 edition which is cited in BCL3 with a new 18 p. Letter to Readers by the author. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
Carol Tavris
Theories of moral development are not mere abstractions. They matter - to the way children are raised, to female and male self-esteem... and that is why Carol Gilligan's book is important.... In a Different Voice is constantly provocative and imaginative.
New York Times Book Review
Alfie Cohn
Gilligan's book is feminism at its best... Her thesis is needed not only in research but in common sense... Theories of human development are never more limiting than when their bias is invisible, and Gilligan's book performs the vital service of illuminating one of the deepest biases of all.
Boston Globe
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674445444
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1993
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 219,110
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Gilligan is University Professor at the New York University School of Law.
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Woman’s Place in Man’s Life Cycle
  • 2. Images of Relationship
  • 3. Concepts of Self and Morality
  • 4. Crisis and Transition
  • 5. Women’s Rights and Women’s Judgment
  • 6. Visions of Maturity
  • References
  • Index of Study Participants General
  • Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2000

    Intelligent and interesting

    Gilligan's book proposes a theory that women have a fundamentally different psychology: that they experience different stages in their development of ethics and they ultimately differ in the type of ethical system which is developed. Her theory is essentially that women develop ethical systems and ethical decision making which is more community based, which takes into account all sides of the conflict, and which rejects a 'win-lose' viewpoint in order to find a 'win-win' solution for all persons involved. The book is elegantly written, and Gilligan's points, data and examples are fascinating. Even if you don't agree with her, the book provides a lot of interesting food for thought. The next question is, of course, how does a psychological system which was designed for men help women recover?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2001

    balanced, challenging, insightful

    gilligan cogently challenges the concept of an absolute morality, which often excludes the views of women and fails to address their reality. she proposes a distinction between 'female' and 'male' moralities, and identifies the complementarity of the two. she avoids polarizing the different views into 'right' and 'wrong' or 'better' and 'worse,' and addresses both positions with a fairness and balance that is striking. her ideas are strong and clearly deviate from those of her mentor lawrence kohlberg; however, she builds consensus instead of conflict. in writing this book, she displays the very ideal she is trying to describe. her work has dramatically changed my understanding of myself and my female patients.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    MUST READ

    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/729

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2006

    What voice?

    In order to really enjoy reading Carol Gilligan¿s novel In a Different Voice, you must do a couple of things. First you should be knowledgeable of the accepted moral development theories. Secondly you should be interested in the field of moral development. The threading of opinion and previous research is difficult to follow, and at times Gilligan¿s voice is hard to decipher. Furthermore, it is important to note that the examples used by Gilligan to confirm her own moral ladder seem to fit her needs a bit too closely. I could make up my own moral development ladder if I asked the right questions to the right people. While it is true that the voice of women in the making of the generally accepted theory by Kohlberg is lacking, Gilligan¿s research is not clear-cut enough for me to establish a new ladder for only women. Gilligan¿s research is founded on the fact that Kohlberg used only white men for his studies, but in Gilligan¿s significant studies she uses only females. I cannot accept either ladder as a general ladder to apply to all, but I do agree with the fact that men and women think differently and reach different moral steps and different times. At least by reading Gilligan¿s work I woke up to the fact that Kolhberg¿s moral ladder is heavily biased.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 20, 2011

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    Posted December 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

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