Peggy J Miller

Section 1

Program Area: 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

Building Remodeling Projects

Click on the title to check out these pictures from the classroom remodeling project in the basement. A second project to replace the elevators will begin in September. Beginning with the freight elevator, each elevator will be out of service for three months. To get quickly from one floor to another, and improve your fitness, we will encourage the use of the stairs. The repainting of the northeast stairwell has been completed, and the painter is starting on the southwest stairwell.