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Communal Functions of Social Comparison
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Book description

The extent to which we see ourselves as similar or different from others in our lives plays a key role in getting along and participating in social life. This volume identifies research relevant to such communal functions of social comparisons and summarizes and organizes this research within a single, coherent conceptual framework. The volume provides an important addition to current thinking about social comparison, which has often neglected communal and affiliative functions. Whereas human desire to compare with others has traditionally been viewed as motivated by self-centered needs such as self-evaluation, self-enhancement, and self-improvement, this book presents an eclectic cross-section of research that illuminates connective, cooperative, and participatory functions of social comparisons. In this vein, the book aims both to expose research on currently neglected functions of social comparisons and to motivate a broader theoretical integration of social comparison processes.

Reviews

‘This book is a nice and well-chosen collection of readings on a topic that is long overdue - the implications that social comparisons may have for our relationships with others and for society. It is often assumed that social comparisons are something to be avoided but this book highlights how social life is impossible without social comparisons, and emphasizes that social comparisons may even be beneficial for social relationships and the community.’

Abraham Buunk - Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and University of Groningen

‘This book takes a distinguished line of research in a new direction, emphasizing how social comparisons affect the group as well as the individual. Križan and Gibbons have done a good job of organizing the volume: it provides a multifaceted view of social comparison, showing how social comparisons can lead to disparities and group tensions but may also enhance bonding between individuals and groups. Communal Functions of Social Comparison should be read by clinical psychologists, social psychologists, and anyone whose work involves group processes. Both graduate students and seasoned researchers will find this book a rich source of ideas.’

Thomas A. Wills - University of Hawaii Cancer Center

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