The Scales of Success

The Scales of Success: Constructions of Life-Career Success of Eminent Men and Women Lawyers

SHEELAGH O’DONOVAN-POLTEN
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442682290
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  • Book Info
    The Scales of Success
    Book Description:

    An unprecedented window into the most private thinking about success of four male and four female middle-aged lawyers, each of whom is widely recognised to be at the apex of the legal profession in Canada.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8229-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. PART ONE: THE INQUIRY:: ITS PURPOSE AND PROCESS

    • Chapter 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-12)

      Among the most ardently sought personal aspirations of Canadians, underlying their deepest motivations and implicated in their most vexatious insecurities as they embark on the twenty-first century, is the attainment of ‘success.’ In popular ideology, success is typically defined in terms of acquiring wealth, power, and prestige, while, in contemporary Western culture generally, the enterprises identified as work command a central role in determining our subjective and social identities. In light of these observations, it might reasonably be assumed that middle-aged persons who have achieved a relatively high level of financial security, and who command widespread recognition and influence as...

    • Chapter 2 The Inquiry Process
      (pp. 13-26)

      The concept of transition has assumed particular prominence as a theoretical construct in adult and career development research during the past two decades, and a considerable body of evidence which suggests that middle-aged persons do engage in a process of critically examining and restructuring their personal paradigms has been amassed (e.g., Brim, 1976; Hopson and Adams, 1977; Vaillant, 1977; Gould, 1978; Levinson et al., 1978; Bridges, 1980; Schlossberg, 1981, 1984, 1989; Kegan, 1982, 1994; Levinson, 1986; Brehony, 1996; Levinson and Levinson, 1996; Willis and Reid, 1999). Schlossberg (1981, 1984, 1989) has presented a detailed model explicitly designed to conceptualize adult...

  6. PART TWO: THE CASE PROFILES

    • Chapter 3 Case Descriptions of the Male Lawyers
      (pp. 29-56)

      The eight detailed, strictly discrete case descriptions presented in this chapter and the next are intended to convey as fully as possible the unique configuration of elements intrinsic to each lawyer’s construction of life-career success. In each profile, the label assigned to each category of descriptive data reflects my desire to remain true to the characteristic voice, including the idiosyncratic vocabulary, of each of my research co-participants. Correspondingly, the manner in which each profile is arranged reflects my wish to refrain from imposing my own interpretation on the co-participant’s constructions and, when practicable, from superimposing my own terminology on his...

    • Chapter 4 Case Descriptions of the Female Lawyers
      (pp. 57-86)

      In her seminal work on psychological theory and women’s development,In a Different Voice, Gilligan invokes the ancient Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone to remind the reader that the human life cycle itself ‘arises from an alternation between the world of women and that of men’ (1982a: 23). She goes on to illustrate how observing women’s moral judgments within the context of their self-definitions of their experience and motivations yields an alternative conception of human development, which duly recognizes the abiding importance of attachment in the human life cycle. In exposing the cultural mechanisms which, by excluding women’s authentic...

  7. PART THREE: RECURRING THEMES

    • Chapter 5 The Scales of Success: Themes Common to the Men and Women
      (pp. 89-134)

      In his more recent work, Kegan (1994) uses his theory of the psychological evolution of meaning-systems (which he first presented in 1982 and which I outlined in chapter 2) as an analytic tool to examine the demands contemporary culture makes on our consciousness and our mental capabilities to meet those demands. Kegan clearly states that his theory’s central premises and distinctions remain unchanged, but that the ‘principles of mental organization according to which emotional, cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal experiencing is constellated are much more thoroughly spelled out’ (1994: 7). He postulates five distinct thresholds in the evolution of consciousness, which...

    • Chapter 6 The Scales of Success: Gender-Linked Themes
      (pp. 135-168)

      Gilligan, in her 1982 bookIn a Different Voice, employs her research findings concerning actual moral dilemmas faced by her female interviewees to contrast the language of development they had used with the language of development which, though derived exclusively from male subjects, had long been promulgated as the language of human development in the psychological literature. Toward the conclusion of her preface to the 1993 edition, Gilligan reiterates her original reasons for writing it: ‘I wroteIn a Different Voiceto bring women’s voices into psychological theory and to reframe the conversation between women and men’ (xxvi). I designed...

  8. PART FOUR: CONCLUDING PROPOSITIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

    • Chapter 7 Re-visioning Life-Career Success
      (pp. 171-204)

      The inquiry process has unveiled a fundamental paradox at the core of the constructions of life-career success enunciated by the eminent, conventionally successful lawyers profiled. The themes garnered from their composite constructions call into question the prevailing conception of career success as the culmination of a linear, unidirectional enterprise aimed at the attainment of wealth, power, and prestige. In no sense an alternate formulaic prescription for career success, the paradigm of the scales of success points instead to a holistic vision of life-career success during middle adulthood which embraces a fecund universe of dynamically interactive cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal spheres...

  9. Appendices
    (pp. 205-216)
  10. References
    (pp. 217-226)
  11. Index
    (pp. 227-239)