Gilligan, Carol 1936-
GILLIGAN, Carol 1936-
PERSONAL: Born November 28, 1936, in New York, NY; daughter of William E. (a lawyer) and Mabel (a teacher; maiden name, Caminez) Friedman; married James Frederick Gilligan (a psychiatrist); children: Jonathan, Timothy, Christopher. Education: Swarthmore College, B.A. (with highest honors), 1958; Radcliffe College, M.A. (with distinction), 1960; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1964. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish.
CAREER: Psychologist, educator, and author. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, lecturer, beginning 1968, assistant professor, 1971-78, associate professor, 1978-86, professor, 1986—, then Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Gender Studies. Rutgers University, Laurie Chair in Women's Studies, 1986-87; University of Cambridge, Pitt Professor, 1992-93. Bunting Institute, faculty fellow, 1982-83; Spencer Foundation, senior research fellow, 1989-93. Harvard Project on Women's Psychology and the Development of Girls, founding member, 1987; The Company of Women and Girls, co-director, 1991—.
MEMBER: American Psychology Association, Association of Women in Psychology.
AWARDS, HONORS: Ms. Woman of the Year, 1984; Grawemayer Award in Education, 1992; Heinz Award, 1998. Recipient of honorary degrees from Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Wesleyan University, Regis College, and Framingham State Teachers College.
In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory andWomen's Development, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1982.
(Editor, with Janie Victoria Ward, Jill McLean Taylor, and Betty Bardige) Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women's Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1989.
(With Nona P. Lyons and Trudy J. Hanmer) MakingConnections: The Relational Worlds of Adolescent Girls at Emma Willard School, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1991.
(With Lyn Mikel Brown) Meeting at the Crossroads:Women's Psychology and Girls' Development, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.
(With Jill McLean Taylor and Amy M. Sullivan) Between Voice and Silence: Women and Girls, Race and Relationship, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.
Woman: A Celebration to Benefit the Ms. Foundation for Women, Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.
The Birth of Pleasure, Knopf (New York, NY), 2002.
Also author of Women, Girls, and Psychotherapy: Reframing Resistance, published by Harvard University Press.
SIDELIGHTS: Psychologist Carol Gilligan made a major contribution to the fields of psychology and feminist theory when she published her groundbreaking 1982 book In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. In this work Gilligan proposes that women's psychological development—especially their identity and moral development—have long been judged by standards set by and for men. While men and boys tend to define themselves as separate and solve moral problems in accordance with more abstract principles of justice, women tend to describe themselves as living in connection with others, to consider interpersonal relationships when resolving human problems, and to strengthen connections and minimize hurt. Gilligan argues that both separation and connection are human experiences, and that men and women tend to take different—and valid—approaches to defining and solving moral problems. Her study of women's voices and psychological theory, as well as the impact of her findings on current feminist thinking, led Ms. magazine to name her its Woman of the Year in 1984.
Gilligan explains in A Different Voice that psychologists from pioneer Sigmund Freud to latter-day researcher Lawrence Kohlberg have claimed that women are inferior to men when it comes to a sense of self and moral reasoning. Kohlberg, for instance, as Carol Tavris explained in the New York Times Book Review, "devised a six-stage sequence of moral development" on the basis of research on men and boys only, and claimed that "women tend to get stuck at 'stage three,' where standards of morality and goodness depend on pleasing and helping others." In studies of moral development, women's test answers were inclined to be too complex to fit the framework of the tests and tended to complicate the data, which led to their responses being eliminated and discounted. Tavris concluded that in A Different Voice "Gilligan explores the paradox that the very traits that have been traditionally associated with women's goodness—their concern for and sensitivity to the needs of others—are the very qualities that have led psychologists to describe them as morally inferior to men. Gilligan argues that the issue is not one of moral superiority or inferiority, but rather that men and women have 'two disparate modes of experience' that affect their values and views of the world."
Since writing In a Different Voice, Gilligan—with various coauthors and coeditors—has continued to develop and publish her theories. Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women's Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education, which Gilligan coedited, contains articles by several psychologists on the ideas Gilligan has put forth. Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development, Making Connections: The Relational Worlds of Adolescent Girls at Emma Willard School, and Women, Girls, and Psychotherapy: Reframing Resistance all contain studies of girls that, Gilligan once explained to CA, "show the way women's psychological development comes to crisis at adolescence, when girls resist the 'psychological foot-binding' that is imposed on them by patriarchal social structures—in part through the process of education." Woman: A Celebration to Benefit the Ms. Foundation for Women is a collection of essays on the topic of being a woman. In this book Gilligan focuses on women from around the world and her writings are accompanied by over 200 photographs.
In 2002 Gilligan published The Birth of Pleasure, an exploration of the nature of love and pleasure that contains stories of real-life couples and parent/child interactions. Gilligan uses the mythological tale of Cupid and Psyche, who have a daughter named Pleasure, as a reference point for her theories. She also includes pieces of writing from some of Western civilization's greatest authors: Shakespeare, Proust, Hawthorne, and Anne Frank, to name a few. Much of her research centers on children and Gilligan asserts that society forces young, vivacious girls to become guarded and keep true feelings hidden. In contrast, boys become less open and sensitive at around age six or seven because at that time their male role models begin to back away. These cultural norms send both genders on a path of confusion which often makes a healthy relationship between a man and woman difficult, and finding pleasure nearly impossible.
Reviewers were mixed about The Birth of Pleasure. In the New York Times, reviewer Emily Nussbaum observed that while Gilligan's theories about pleasure are interesting, "not only does she fail to dramatize (or prove) her universalizing thesis, but when she attempts to apply her developmental outline to actual relationships," it doesn't work. Lavinia Greenlaw added in New Statesman, "Her arguments suffer from informality and the book from a lack of structure." Other critics were more positive. A Publishers Weekly reviewer maintained that Gilligan's "mastery of literary sources and her intelligent but nonacademic writing style make this an enjoyable, challenging work." Carol J. Binkowski wrote in Library Journal that she considered the book to be a "flowing literary narrative," while Donna Seaman in Booklist called The Birth of Pleasure "original and elegant."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bowman, John S., editor, Cambridge Dictionary ofAmerican Biography, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn, editor, Encyclopedia ofWomen's History in America, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2000.
Feminist Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996, pp. 197-198.
Hekman, Susan J., Moral Voices, Moral Selves: CarolGilligan and Feminist Moral Theory, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 1995.
American Journal of Sociology, November, 1996, Donna Eder, review of Between Voice and Silence: Women and Girls, Race and Relationship, p. 883.
Booklist, February 15, 1996, Mary Carroll, review of Between Voice and Silence, p. 883; May 15, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of The Birth of Pleasure, p. 1557.
Christian Science Monitor, June 24, 1996, Stacy A. Teicher, "Women Learn to Hear the Varied Voices of Girls," p. 12.
Commonweal, September 24, 1982, pp. 504-506.
Contemporary Sociology, July, 1997, Carla O'Connor, review of Between Voice and Silence, p. 507.
Feminist Review, autumn, 1998, Christine Griffin, review of Between Voice and Silence, p. 121.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of The Birth ofPleasure, p. 468.
Library Journal, May 15, 2002, Carol J. Binkowski, review of The Birth of Pleasure, p. 115.
Ms., January, 1984, pp. 37-40, 101.
Nation, February 25, 1991, pp. 243-246.
New Republic, December 7, 1992, pp. 34-39; July 22, 2002, Margaret Talbot, review of The Birth of Pleasure, p. 34.
New Statesman, May 20, 2002, Lavinia Greenlaw, review of The Birth of Pleasure, p. 53.
New York Times, March 30, 2002, Emily Eakin, "Listening to the Voices of Women," p. 9; June 30, 2002, Emily Nussbaum, review of The Birth of Pleasure, p. 14.
New York Times Book Review, May 2, 1982, pp. 14, 32; May 28, 1989, p. 6; October 4, 1992, pp. 13, 14.
Publishers Weekly, January 1, 1996, review of Between Voice and Silence, p. 63; April 29, 2002, review of The Birth of Pleasure, p. 55.
Washington Post, December 21, 1983.
Women and Language, fall, 1994, Anita Taylor, review of Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development, p. 44.
Women's Studies, January, 1997, review of BetweenVoice and Silence, p. 142.*