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Gilligan’s Moral Development Theory

Moral development refers to a person’s developing understanding of the rights and responsibilities between themselves and others. Carol Gilligan is a research psychologist who proposed that instead of only one orientation for solving moral conflicts, there are actually two perspectives that people have used: (1) a justice orientation and (2) a care orientation. In this entry, Gilligan’s background is presented first, followed by that of her mentor, Lawrence Kohlberg. Next, Gilligan’s care orientation moral development theory is defined and contrasted with Kohlberg’s justice orientation moral development theory. The entry concludes with a brief discussion of Gilligan’s model and gender socialization.

Gilligan’s Background

Gilligan was born in New York City on November 28, 1936. She attended Swarthmore College, where she focused on literature and graduated summa cum ...

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