some comments on Gilligan's book


Hi. I was just reading thru Gilligan's book again, and taking a bit more

time with it. You know, there is some "revolutionary stuff" here. It goes

along with some of the plenary talks at the health and human rights

conference I covered. The "structural violence" of poverty, class

differences etc.


Just to share a couple of quotes along these lines from him.


Re what he considers the "structural" causes of violence:


"By "structural violence" I mean the increased rates of death and

disability suffered by those who occupy the bottom rungs of society, as

contrasted with the relatively lower death rates experienced by those who

are above them....Neither the existence, the scope and extent, nor the

lethal power of structural violence can be discerned until we shift our

focus from a clinical or psychological perspective, which looks at one

individual at a time, to the epidemiological perspective of public health

and preventive medicine".


:" ..all violence is an attempt to achieve justice, or what the violent

person perceives as justice. ..Thus, the attempt to achieve and maintain

justice, or to undo or prevent injustice, is the one and only universal

cause of violence"


"...the most effective way to increase the amount of violence and crime is

to do exactly what we have been doing increasingly over the past decades,

namely to permit- or rather to force - more and more of our children and

adults to be poor, neglected, hungry, homeless, uneducated and sick. What

is particularly effective in

increasing the amount of violence in the world is to widen the gap between

the rich and the poor"'


"...perhaps reforming the social , economic, and legal institutions that

systematically humiliate people can do more to prevent violence than all

the preaching and pubishing in the world."


"...the ultimate source of most crime and violence is actually the upper

class - or rather, the class system".


"The "hidden injury" of class, then shame".


"If humanity is to evolve beyond the propensity toward violence that how

threatens our very survival as a species, then it can only do so by

recognizing the extent to which the patriarchal code of honor and shame

generates and obligates male violence. If we wish to bring this violence

under control, we need to begin by reconstituting what we mean by both

masculinity and femininity"


In addition, he states his disagreements with policies related to the "war

on crime" and the "war on drugs").



Finally, a couple of great quotes re: the importance of understanding



"Punishing requires much less effort than does understanding the many

different forms of violence: learning what variety and interaction of

biological, psychological and social forces cause the different forms of

violence. It is easier and less threatening to condemn violence (morally

and legally) so that we can punish it, rather than seeking its causes and

working to prevent it."


"..where violence is concerned, attempting to repair the damage, whether by

means of punishment or of therapy, after irrevocable violence has already

occurred, is too little too late, not only for the primary victim but also

for the perpetrator. The overwhelming emphasis needs to be on prevention -

which is exactly whay nothing is more important than to learn everything we

can about why people become violent, toward others or toward themselves, so

that we can be more successful in preventing such destructiveness in the

future, before it reaches the point of no return.".



So, those are some of the quotes that sort of jumped out at me. Don't know

if it is at all useful but it was for me at least. (For one thing I will

plan to add the Gilligan book to "my" web page publication list because of

its parallels with topics of the conference).


What I haven't totally figured out for myself is putting the framework of

Miller together with Gilligan's framework (together with..)..? Well, I

guess that's what we are all trying to do in WAVE come to think of it!


Catherine Briggs