James Meredith Day-The Social Construction of Morality

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James Meredith Day 1.png

James Meredith Day-The Social Construction of Morality

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Working with Kohlberg at Harvard, Dr. Day learned to work in a developmental paradigm which searched for a deep structure that would determine morality. Language was seen to represent something deep inside the person. He noticed how much of the individual stories that people told were left out of the research, in favor of the deep structure hypothesis. He discusses the "Heinz story" from the Kohlberg research and the reactions of the subjects who were interviewed. While he was increasingly intrigued with the stories that people insisted on telling before they could resolve the moral dilemma about Heinz, Kohlberg was not interested in these tales but only the deep structure for which he was searching. He also noticed that subjects tended to retell their stories differently, depending on to whom they were retelling the story. If the stories represented "deep structures," they would have retold them consistently. James came to the conclusion that narrative is not only how people described their decision, but also a part of how they made their decision. Language is performative more than representative. The multivocality of moral life is discussed and the question of the self or selves. Does language map (describe) reality or does discourse create it? Erikson's conception of integrity versus fragmentation of the self, disjunctures between moral and religious development and other ideas are discussed.
Running Time: 50 minutes.
James Meredith Day (Ph.D.) is a developmental and clinical psychologist whose work has contributed to the dialogue between developmental and constructionist paradigms in psychology. He is Professor of Human Development and the Psychology of Religion in the Human Development and Learning Laboratory of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the Universite Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. His most recent book, edited with Ralph Mosher and Deborah Youngman, is Human Development Across The Life Span: Educational And Psychological Applications (Praeger Publishing 1999), and he serves on the editorial boards of several international journals. Professor Day is a graduate of Oberlin College, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania, and has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge, Columbia, Princeton, and Union Theological Seminary (New York).

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