Peggy J Miller

Section 1

Division: Developmental

Professor Emerita of Communication
Professor Emerita of Psychology
Affiliated Faculty of Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies

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Contact Information:

  • Address:
    Department of Communication, 3001 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright St. Urbana, IL 61801
  • Telephone: 217-333-2683

Research Description

I'm interested in socialization - the processes by which children come to orient themselves within systems or meaning. I regard socialization as a classic problem in developmental cultural psychology. I approach this problem through the study of everyday talk. Over the years I have studied explicit instruction, teasing, and pretend play in families with young children. Much of my recent work has focused on personal storytelling as a medium of socialization. Another line of research focuses on parental folk theories of childrearing, especially as they pertain to self-esteem. I am strongly committed to comparative research and have studied working-class and middle-class Anglo families in the U.S. as well as Taiwanese families in Taiwan. My work relies upon ethnographic and observational approaches and micro-level analysis of talk.


  • Ph.D. from Columbia University


  • Psychology 540: Social Development
  • Psychology 593: Ethnographic Research Methods
  • Speech Communication 529: Ethnographic Research Methods

Recent Publications

Fung, H., Miller, P.J., & Lin, L-C. (2004). Listening is active: Lessons from the narrative practices of Taiwanese families. In M.W. Pratt & B.E. Fiese (Eds.), Family stories and the life course: Across time and generations. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Hudley, E.P., Haight, W.L., & Miller, P.J. (2003). "Raise up a child": Human development in an African-American family. Chicago: Lyceum.

Miller, P. J., Cho, G.E., & Bracey, J. (2005). Working-class children's experience through the prism of personal storytelling. Human Development.

Miller, P. J., Hengst, J.A., & Wang, S-H. (2003). Ethnographic methods: Applications from developmental cultural psychology. In P.M. Camic, J.E. Rhodes, L. Yardley (Eds.), Qualitative research in psychology: Expanding perspectives in methodology and design. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Miller, P.J., Wang, S-H., Sandel, T., 7 Cho, G.E. (2002). Self-esteem as folk theory: A comparison of European-American and Taiwanese mothers' beliefs. Parenting: Science and Practice, 3, 209-239.

Section 2


Facilities Information

Psychology Bldg Roof Project: Re-roofing

The roofing project is almost complete! There are only a few minor details on the roof that have to be worked on. The fence next to the building should disappear in a couple of days, and that side area will have new grass. The new bicycle racks will be installed some time in October.