HOW SHOULD THE HERO OF AESOP'S FABLE ACT? A CONTRIBUTION TO THE NARRATIVE PSYCHOLOGY OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT
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The question to be answered was how children present moral issues in narratives and what solutions they suggest in narrative texts directed to different addressees. Sixty boys and sixty girls aged 6;1 - 6;11 participated in the study. Each child was presented with an adapted version of Aesop's fable 'The Porcupine and the Moles'. The children were informed that the fable lacked a proper ending and were asked to complete it. In addition, they were asked to evaluate the actions of the heroes. In the course of the experiment, the children were asked to perform a radio broadcast to target audiences described respectively as 'small children', 'peers' and 'adults'. A total of 118 narratives were recorded, and were analyzed in reference to presentation of relationships between heroes and the suggested solutions of moral problems. The research showed a significant dependency between discourse participant structure and the voice of narration, defined here as manifestation of 'ethics of care' and/or 'ethics of equality'. Focusing on the communicative competence of the discourse participants has allowed for a broader approach to Gilligan's theory which has revealed the relation between the moral orientation activated in a narrative discourse and the given addressee of the story.
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