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
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 ...is 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!