Redistributive justice and cultural feminism

William J. Turnier, Pamela Johnston Conover, David Lowery

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


INTRODUCTION, The year 1982 saw the publication of Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice. In general, Gilligan undertook to establish that differences in the approaches of men and women to moral and social structuring issues are based on a different way of approaching ethical and social issues. She found that males emphasize the autonomy of individuals and an ethos of rights in their approach, whereas females emphasize communitarian values and an ethos of care. Gilligan labeled neither approach as superior. Each provided useful, but different, modes for resolving moral and social issues. Some legal scholars seized upon Gilligan's work as providing justification for creating new modes for evaluating existing legal rules and creating new rules. These scholars, who are sometimes grouped together under the label of the “cultural feminist school” of jurisprudence, claim that the existing legal construct, which was largely the product of a male-dominated society, is preoccupied with individual autonomy and an ethos of rights. Basing legal rules on communitarian values and an ethos of care would result in the making of dramatically different choices. Unlike Gilligan, cultural feminists often see the ethos of care as superior to the ethos of rights and see the changes that would be wrought in the legal system by application of the ethos of care as improvements on the present state of the law. The purpose of this article is to test, in the context of redistributive justice, the basic postulate of cultural feminist jurisprudence – that men and women approach major societal issues differently so that were we to listen to [women's] different voice, different choices would be made about legal solutions to social problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCritical Tax Theory
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780511609800
ISBN (Print)9780521511360
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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