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Peer Groups
Expanding Our Study of Small Group Communication

  • SunWolf - Santa Clara University, USA


© 2008 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"I enjoyed the book, learned a LOT, and LOVE her creativity in discussing different examples that help group constructs some to life. It represents the breadth of the new Group Communication Division in NCA better than any book I have seen."

David Seibold, University of California, Santa Barbara

"I can unequivocally state that the proposed text is LONG overdue! Over the years I have reviewed several text proposals. SunWolf's proposal ranks in the 99th percentile. . . . This is one of the most innovative, heuristic, pragmatic, and engaging proposals I have ever perused."

Jim L. Query, Jr., University of Houston

"Peer Groups is different from the run-of-the-mill group text book. I can see that my students will learn so much more from Dr. SunWolf's orientation than they have from the other books I've used. The benefits are that the topics related to [students'] practical world and that there is so much to foster in-class discussion. Although many students are familiar with the 'work world,' they are not yet there. Dr. SunWolf provides them with what is relevant in their lives now!"

Audrey E. Kali, Framingham State College

Clans, cliques, clubs, or classmates: Students of group communication should be encouraged to think critically about concepts to the groups that matter to them most—peers. Peer Groups is the first textbook to explore group communication dynamics with this vital group. Drawing on a combination of traditional and new theories, Dr. SunWolf uses an inviting writing style, shares the words and provocative thinking of real world group members, and draws on research from social psychology, communication, and group dynamics. This innovative book offers suggestions for critical thinking and new behaviors in students' own peer groups and will inspire further exploration of small group dynamics.

Features and Benefits

  • Introduces students and researchers to cutting-edge cross-disciplinary thinking with new theories that explain group dynamics and member behaviors: Symbolic-Interpretive Perspective, Group Dialectics, Decisional Regret Theory, Social Comparison Theory, and the Bona Fide Group Perspective
  • Examines the dynamics of real world peer groups: children's play groups, adolescence cliques, street gangs, elite hot task groups, and decision-making juries
  • Generates readers' interest in studying group behaviors by drawing upon students' personal experiences with groups
  • Brings marginalized groups and ethnicities to the stage, from African American cowboys to multi-ethnic street gangs, including the painful issue of those left out of peer groups
  • Offers a student-friendly reference guide with an extensive and easy-to-read table that summarizes group concepts and theories
  • Guides classroom discussion, triggers critical thinking, and suggests useful written assignments and tools for break-out discussions with end-of-chapter sections


Intended Audience
This accessible and innovative text is designed for undergraduate students of Communication, Social Psychology, and Sociology. It is designed to supplement and partner with any current group textbook, as well as act as a stand-alone text.


Dr. SunWolf
is a scholar of unusual breadth and depth. She is a cross-disciplinary scholar in the fields of legal communication, persuasion, multicultural storytelling, social exclusion, and group decision making. Her national award-winning productivity in the past five years has been astonishing: the publication of five books, 22 journal articles or book chapters, a published educational DVD, and serving on the editorial board of five journals. Dr. SunWolf broke new ground by publishing in a top journal a new theory of communication (Decisional Regret Theory), expanding the field of small group communication to include the study of childhood group processes, gathering data from 680 adolescents in the Bay Area, as well as being the first author in trial advocacy to devote sustained attention to jurors' religious beliefs and the role of empathy and compassion in jury deliberations.

 
1. Peer Group Lenses
Theoretical Lights That Illuminate Peer Group Dynamics  
Beyond Theories  
Using Multiple Theoretical or Conceptual Lenses  
Critical Thinking About Group Theories and Concepts  
 
2. Peer Groups in Childhood: Learning the Rules of Peer Play
Communication Processes in Early Childhood Peer Groups  
Communicating Values About Group Rules in Early Childhood Peer Groups  
Gender Differences in Childhood Groups  
Strategies Children Use to Gain Entry to Playgroups  
Leadership in Children's Playgroups  
Silent Childhood Stresses  
Tales of Peer Group Rejection  
Conceptualizing Peer Group Interventions  
New Theoretical Lenses  
Critical Thinking About Children's Peer Groups  
 
3. Peer Groups in Adolescence: The Power of Rejection
Freaks, Geeks, Jocks, and Stars  
Communicating Group Values in the Culture of Adolescent Peer Groups  
Strategies That Adolescents Use to Attempt to Gain Entry to Peer Groups  
Bittersweet Peer Power  
Adolescent Group Boundaries  
Conceptualizing Peer Group Interventions  
Critical Thinking About Adolescent Peer Groups  
 
4. Peer Groups in Neighborhoods: Hoodies, Homies, and Gangsta Girls
Homeboys and Hoods  
Gangsta Girls  
New Theoretical Lenses  
Critical Thinking About Neighborhood Peer Groups  
 
5. Peer Groups That Super-Task: Hot Groups
Hot Groups  
The Hot Group State of Mind  
Workin' From Can't to Can't  
New Theoretical Lenses  
Critical Thinking About Peer Groups that Super-Task  
 
6. Peer Groups as Decision Makers: Juries
Scene: Courthouse Jury Assembly Room  
Historical Juries  
Enacting Group Leadership  
Structuring Member Communication  
The Work of Jury Work  
When Peers Disagree  
Regret Among Peers  
Conceptualizing Peer Group Interventions  
New Theoretical Lenses  
Critical Thinking About Juries and Decision-Making Peer Groups  
 
Epilogue

"I enjoyed the book, learned a LOT, and LOVE her creativity in discussing different examples that help group constructs some to life. It represents the breadth of the new Group Communication Division in NCA better than any book I have seen."

David Seibold
University of California, Santa Barbara

"I can unequivocally state that the proposed text is LONG overdue! Over the years I have reviewed several text proposals. SunWolf's proposal ranks in the 99th percentile. . . . This is one of the most innovative, heuristic, pragmatic, and engaging proposals I have ever perused."

Jim L. Query, Jr.
University of Houston

"Peer Groups is different from the run-of-the-mill group text book. I can see that my students will learn so much more from Dr. SunWolf's orientation than they have from the other books I've used. The benefits are that the topics related to [students'] practical world and that there is so much to foster in-class discussion. Although many students are familiar with the ‘work world,’ they are not yet there. Dr. SunWolf provides them with what is relevant in their lives now!"

Audrey E. Kali
Framingham State College

I have used this book for a number of years in an upper level Group Communication course on a study abroad semester. The book provides excellent foundational theories that students can then use to analyze our group. It is also one of the few books that gets into peer groups instead of the traditional task oriented groups.

Peggy Kendall
Communication Studies, Bethel College
October 28, 2016

It did not meet our expectations

Professor John McNerney
Humanities Comm Graph Des Dept, Suny Cobleskill
September 28, 2009
Key features

This book adds value, as a supplement, to any course on group communication by:

  • Generating student interest in group processes using groups that matter to them;
  • Bridging traditional group concepts and theories (found in primary texts) by applying them to real world groups: cliques, circles of friends, gangs, juries, peer task teams (surgery teams, law enforcement squads, computer technology pods, flight crews);
  • Offering data and dialogue from the participants in studies of real world peer groups, bringing the concepts, behaviors, and processes alive for students;
  • Adding ethnicity and culture to the discussion of groups (for examples, excluded children and street gangs), showing vivid examples of the role of race and ethnicity in peer groups;
  • Applying new group theories/perspectives to explain and predict group behaviors, including the Symbolic-Interpretive Perspective, Group Dialectics, Decisional Regret Theory, and the Bona Fide Group Perspective.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Ch. 1 - Peer Group Lenses

Prologue

Epilogue


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ISBN: 9781412926867

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