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Concepts of Morality, Personal Autonomy, and Parental Authority in Multifaceted Social issues: An Examination of Daughters' and Mothers' Reasoning in Religious and Secular Istanbul, Turkey


This study examined religious and secular women's reasoning about personal autonomy, maternal authority, and moral concepts in family decision making situations in urban Turkey. 68 daughters and 34 mothers were individually interviewed about decision-making autonomy in general issues (e.g., clothes, house chores, friends, career, healthcare). In addition, they were asked to evaluate socially controversial versions of the issue (e.g., wearing the headscarf) occurring as a conflict in a hypothetical daughter-mother dyad. Participants regardless of their family status and religious background assigned more decision-making autonomy when evaluating general issues. Analysis of controversial issues as hypothetical conflicts indicated that daughters and mothers do not hold unitary social judgments about social world that were always consistent with the norms of their community and family status. Religious background and family status differences were observed in evaluations of some conflict stories but not in others. Women reasoned about conflict situations differently as a function of whether they evaluated the choices as moral, conventional, personal, prudential, or religious matter.

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