Rethinking the Life Cycle
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Carol Gilligan criticized Erik Erikson’s account of the human life cycle for its sexist assumptions, but never offered an alternative general account. This can be done, however, by drawing on recent ideas about balancing career and family. An adult identity is forged through a “choice” of how much to emphasize career (or individual self-fulfillment) and how much to emphasize family (or relationships) in one’s life. Erikson skimped on the relationship issues intrinsic to human development, but his work gives us the material we need for a fuller and non-sexist picture of development that treats males and females as facing the same basic developmental issues.