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Gilligan's Perspective of Ethics of Care (Dissertation Sample)


Gilligan's Perspective of Ethics of Care


Table of Contents TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u Methodology PAGEREF _Toc319414494 \h 3Introduction to the Chapter PAGEREF _Toc319414495 \h 3Background PAGEREF _Toc319414496 \h 3Gilligan's Perspective of Ethics of Care PAGEREF _Toc319414497 \h 5Nel’s Ethics of Care and Education PAGEREF _Toc319414498 \h 11Project Description PAGEREF _Toc319414499 \h 13Research Questions PAGEREF _Toc319414500 \h 13Research Approach PAGEREF _Toc319414501 \h 13Qualitative research approach PAGEREF _Toc319414502 \h 13Deductive and Inductive Research Approaches PAGEREF _Toc319414503 \h 15Oral History Method PAGEREF _Toc319414504 \h 16Sampling and Data Collection PAGEREF _Toc319414505 \h 19Validity, Reliability, and Triangulation PAGEREF _Toc319414506 \h 19Legal and Ethical Considerations PAGEREF _Toc319414507 \h 20
Introduction to the Chapter
This study explores the subject of how oral history methods have been used to investigate teaching via the ethic of care and the implications and/or limitations of these methods for teacher research. The identification of an appropriate research design is paramount for research into a complex and sensitive area such as moral development and ethic of care.
This chapter presents discourses in moral development and ethic of care, which guided the research approach and design. The chapter also outlines the methods used to resolve the research questions set out in the first chapter. The purpose of this research project is to investigate, analyze, and find through qualitative methods using inductive research logic, the use of oral history methods in investigating teaching via the ethic of care and their implications and/or limitations.
The four main sections to the research methodology chapter include the background, research approaches, research design, and sampling and data collection. Each section will present a brief explanation on the research paradigm used as well as the reasons for selecting the paradigms in this project.
The twentieth-century feminine and feminist approaches to ethics share many ontological and epistemological assumptions. They tend to believe that the self is an interdependent being, that knowledge is emotional as well as rational, and that thoughtful persons reflect on concrete particularities as well as abstract universals (Kohlberg, 1971; Chodorow, 1978; Gilligan, 1982; Turiel, 1983; Yow, 1994; Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis, 1997; Perks and Thomson, 1998; Bryman, 2001;Noddings, 2005; Hills and Watson, 2011). This is certainly true of Carol Gilligan, whose ethics of care is definitely rooted, in "women's ways" of being and knowing.'
Feminine writers began questioning the assumptions behind many traditional ethical theories way back in 70’s and 80’s. Gilligan (1982, p371) in her moral psychology work challenged justice-based approaches and introduced the discussion that men tend to embrace an ethic of rights using quasi-legal terminology and impartial principles whereas women tend to affirm an ethic of care that centers on responsiveness in an interconnected network of needs, care, and prevention of harm. She further argued that women have the notion of taking care of others.
In her philosophical account of an ethics of care Baier (1985, p371) recommends that we make room for an ethic of love and trust, including an account of human bonding and friendship rather than discard categories of obligation. What is synonymous with both Gilligan’s and Baier’s accounts is the criticism directed towards the Traditional Liberal Theory and its emphasis on impartiality and universality.
Beauchamp and Childress (2001, p.373) criticize the Traditional Liberal Theory and its universal principles that rough generalizations can be produced regarding the way physicians and nurses respond to patientsbut these generalizations are not subtle enough to give helpful guidance for the next patient. They further consider that each situation demands a new set of responses.
The proponents of ethics of care place emphasis on the mutual interdependence and emotional response. These proponents such as Gilligan and Beauchamp and Childress believe that mutual interdependence and emotional response play a crucial role in people’s moral lives. "…many human relationships involve persons who are vulnerable, dependent, ill, and frail … [and] the desirable moral response is attached attentiveness to needs, not detached respect for rights" (Beauchamp and Childress, 373). Besides, it is important for individuals to have insight into other people’s needs and alert to their circumstances out of emotion. According to Beauchamp and Childress, emotions play a cognitive role that allows us to understand a situation much better than those viewing it from merely a justice perspective.
Gilligan's Perspective of Ethics of Care
In her work, Gilligan responds to Freud’s idea that men have a well-developed moral sense than women do. Gilligan’s argument is that Freud has condemned women twice by declaring that women show less sense of justice than men and they are less ready to submit to the great exigencies of life, and that women are often influenced in their judgments by feelings of affection or hostility. Freud attributed his observations of women’s inferiority on a developmental differencethat men successfully break. As such, he further argued that girls are slower than boys to develop a sense of themselves and they are less responsible for themselves. These attributes are responsible for the supposed resistance to change and civilization by women than men.
While many psychologists have had an androcentric perspective of women’s inferiority, an emerging school of feminists such as Gilligan views the issue differently.
My research suggests that men and women may speak different languages that they assume are the same, using similar words to encode disparate experiences of self and social relationships. Because these languages share an overlapping moral vocabulary, they contain a propensity for systematic mistranslation, creating misunderstandings, which impede communication and limit the potential for cooperation and care in relationships (Gilligan, 1982 p.173).
Gilligan’s work is particularly important because it sets to correct the misunderstandings that contribute to falsification of women's morality. Her arguments and the methodology for research in ethics of care are crucial for the present study, which we must understand.
Carol Gilligan’s criticism is mainly directed towards Lawrence Kohlberg – a well-known educational psychologist and her mentor. Kohlberg’s model suggests that moral development occurs in six stages. He calls the first stage "the punishment and obedience orientation which insists that a child is done as s/he is told either to avoid punishment or to receive a reward. The second stage constitutes the instrumental relativist orientation the children will do things that satisfy their needs and occasionally the needs of others. The third stage involves the interpersonal concordance orientation whereby adolescents will seek the approval of others and in the process conform to existing way of life. The adolescents will then begin to perform their duties in the fourth stage by showing respect for authority to gain some honor. The fifth stage of moral development is the social contract legalistic orientation. During this stage, an adult adopts afundamentally utilitarian moral. The last stage of moral development is the universal ethical principle orientation.Here the individual is in position to any conventional morality. The person is now self-legislated and self-imposed universal principles (Kohlberg, 1971).
Gilligan questions this six-stage methodology presented by Kohlberg perhaps out realization that the model does not represent the true picture of human moral development even though it appeals to many people schooled in traditional ethics.
However, it is important to understand the Kohlbergian methodology in order to determine the truth of Gilligan's claims. Researchers applying the Kohlbergian methodology utilize moral dilemmas to determine how their subjects will resolve them. Kohlbergs first formulation is what is known as the "Heinz Dilemma”. In this dilemma, Heinz goes to a drug store to find medical help for his ill wife with the little money he could find but the druggist has overpriced the drug. The druggist refuses to help Heinz on account that he invented the drug to sell for money. In desperation, Heinz breaks into the store and steals the much needed drug. Two eleven year-old children – a boy and a girl were asked, "Should the husband have done that? Why?" (Gilligan, 1982, p.29)
The researchers observed the children’s responses to the question as they provided the different views. The boy provided an answer consistent with the Kohlbergian mathematical perspective. He said that the husband should steal the drug because his wife’s life is worth more than the drug store owner’s business. In the boy’s view, right to life is more important than right to property. However, the girl did not pass the Kohlbergian scale because she failed to look at the problem as an equation needing a solution one way or the other. She did not make comparison between the value life and property instead reasoning a relational point of view. The girl focused on the consequences of the husband’s actions on his relationship with his wife.
If he stole the drug, he might save his wife then, but if he did, he might have to go to jail, then his wife might get sicker again, he couldn't get more of the drug, and it might not be good. So, they should really just talk it...
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