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The Ethic of Care and Its Development

A Longitudinal Study Among Practical Nursing, Bachelor-Degree Sosial Work and Law Enforcement Students

Juujärvi Soile

Twenty years ago Carol Gilligan identified a different moral voice among women, which challenged the dominant voice of justice in morality research. Instead of individual rights, the voice of care is focused on the dynamics of relationships and responsibilities. Ever since, the ethic of care has been the target of an ongoing debate. It has become increasingly popular among ethical practitioners and researchers, especially feminist writers. Gilligan also claimed that the ethic of care has a developmental path of its own. Development would entail successive stages of self-concern and caring for self, conventional caring for others with self-sacrifice, and finally the balanced caring for both self and others. However, the mainstream of moral psychology has neglected the developmental aspect of Gilligan’s work. This study investigates whether the ethic of care has the proposed developmental sequence. The sample consisted of 66 prospective professional care and justice workers. Moral reasoning among practical nursing, bachelor-degree social work and law enforcement students was examined in the beginning of their education and after two years. Moreover, this thesis analyses different conceptualizations of the ethic of care, and reviews the debate between Gilligan and Kohlberg, care and justice. The empirical part illuminates how the ethics of care and justice interplay in real-life moral conflicts as told by the participants in their own voices. This thesis provides a new understanding of the ethics of care professionals. It opens a fresh perspective to many current ethical issues in our contemporary society. As a whole, it is an empirically based argument for the ethic of care.

31 €


  • Julkaisija Sosiaalipsykologia (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2003
    Sivumäärä 342
    Kieli Englanti
    Ulkoasu A5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9521014350