Sex Differences and Similarities in Communication

Sex Differences and Similarities in Communication

Sex Differences and Similarities in Communication

Sex Differences and Similarities in Communication

Synopsis

Sex Differences and Similarities in Communication offers a thorough exploration of sex differences in how men and women communicate, set within the context of sex similarities, offering a balanced examination of the topic. The contents of this distinctive volume frame the conversation regarding the extent to which sex differences are found in social behavior, and emphasize different theoretical perspectives on the topic. Chapter contributors examine how sex differences and similarities can be seen in various verbal and nonverbal communicative behaviors across contexts, and focus on communication behavior in romantic relationships. The work included here represents recent research on the topic across various disciplines, including communication, social psychology, sociology, linguistics, and organizational behavior, by scholars well-known for their work in this area.
In this second edition, some chapters present new perspectives on sex/gender and communication; others present substantially revised versions of earlier chapters. All chapters have a stronger theoretical orientation and are based on a wider range of empirical data than those in the first edition. Readers in communication, social psychology, relationships, and related fields will find much of interest in this second edition. The volume will serve as a text for students in advanced coursework as well as a reference for practitioners interested in research-based conclusions regarding sex differences in communicative behavior.

Excerpt

A science teacher in Baltimore, Md., was offering lessons in anatomy
when one of the boys in class declared, “There’s one less rib in a man
than in a women.” The teacher pulled out two skeletonsone male,
the other femaleand asked the student to count the ribs in each.
“The next day,” the teacher recalls, “the boy claimed he told his priest
what happened and his priest said I was a heretic”

—Gibbs (2005, p. 40)

Of course, men and women differ in many ways. Some biological differences, for instance, are undeniable in that no one seriously considers an examination of sex differences in reproductive roles (pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding). However, some biological similarities are undeniable in that no one seriously considers an examination of sex differences in number of ribs. In addition to sex differences, sex inequalities are clearly evident in the division of labor, unequal pay for men and women, and the sex composition of the highest levels of corporate and government offices. For instance, women working outside the home continue to struggle to achieve equal pay in the workforce and a fair division of labor in the home. Less, clear, however, are the differences in men’s and women’s communicative behaviors in professional, social, and personal relationships.

Scholarly opinions about the differences between men and women are more than academic; opinions about sex differences have personal, professional, and political implications. Given the seriousness of the implications, it is no wonder that scholars often advocate their academic positions on the issue of sex differences and similarities with passion and zeal.

This book examines the social scientific literature regarding how men and women communicate. Readers who are interested in the scientific literature on communication, social psychology, and related fields should find this anthology an important resource. Students in advanced undergraduate classes and graduate classes, and practitioners interested in research-based conclusions regarding sex differences in communicative behavior, should be especially informed. People who seek support for the point of view that men and women are divided into dichotomous or polarized groups will probably want to look elsewhere.

This is the second edition of Sex Differences and Similarities in Communication. The first edition was published in 1998. Since then, far more research has been conducted, and by scholars across disciplines such as communication, social psychology, sociology, linguistics, organizational behavior, and other literatures, on sex differences and similarities in communication. Several of the authors contributing to this volume were not included in the first edition. Some of the chapters present new perspectives on sex or gender and communication; some present substantially revised versions of earlier chapters. All are more theoretically oriented and based on a wider range of empirical data than the first edition.

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