ERIC Number: ED428310
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
To Borrow and Bestow: Identification as the Acquisition of Value.
Gover, Mark; Conway, Paul
The individualism inherent in traditional theories of moral education, be it from an ethic of justice or of care, is challenged. The argument is made for a sociocultural perspective in which an adequate theory of moral education highlights the role of wider historical and cultural processes, not as mere influences on how one develops, thinks, or decides but as actual constituents of these phenomena. It is through the sociocultural processes of "mediation" and "emergence" that one acquires moral value. Cultural artifacts mediate the many-layered process through which admired others are bestowed with prized qualities, qualities "borrowed back" by individuals in the service of enacting an identity. Therefore, it is argued that culture, not psychology, ultimately underwrites the values societies do or do not attempt to foster in youth. A recent study of children's construals of their heroes and heroines illustrates the argument. Third and fourth grade children were asked to name a hero or heroine, to choose adjectives to describe the heroic figure, and then asked whether they want to be like the chosen hero or heroine. A pattern emerges from the data which supports the idea of an "ideological artifact" representing the culturally bestowed value, which lends support to the thesis. (Contains 35 references.) (Author/EMK)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revision of a paper presented at the Association of Moral Education Conference (Atlanta, GA, November 20-22, 1997).