Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity by Brenda J. Allen
236 pages, $29.95 list
1-57766-673-9
978-1-57766-673-8
Instructor Resource Materials available at www.differencematters.info
Difference Matters
Communicating Social Identity
Second Edition
Allen’s proven ability and flare for presenting complex and oftentimes sensitive topics in nonthreatening ways carry over in the latest edition of Difference Matters. Her down-to-earth analysis of six social identity categories reveals how communication establishes and enacts identity and power dynamics. She provides historical overviews to show how perceptions of gender, race, social class, sexuality, ability, and age have varied throughout time and place. Allen clearly explains pertinent theoretical perspectives and illustrates those and other discussions with real-life experiences (many of which are her own). She also offers practical guidance for how to communicate difference more humanely. While many examples are from organizational contexts, readers from a wide range of backgrounds can relate to them and appreciate their relevance.

This eye-opening, vibrant text, suitable for use in a variety of disciplines, motivates readers to think about valuing difference as a positive, enriching feature of society. Interactive elements such as Spotlights on Media, I.D. Checks, Tool Kits, and “Reflection Matters” questions awaken interest, awareness, and creative insights for change.
Reviews
“This is one of the most concise and understandable texts I have read. I appreciate how inexpensive it is for my students. I will certainly adopt it.” — Sambo Srauy, Oakland University

“There is no other text like this—it addresses the intersection of identity and power in a way no other text comes close to.” — Kelsey Denton, Green River Community College

“This is a splendid book, and the Web site to support it is quite helpful. Difference Matters provides instructors who care about difference matters with an excellent ‘road map’ of how to teach them. Bravo!” — Julia T. Wood, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“Last semester my students challenged me to find a book that speaks to them—they are a diverse group and Difference Matters certainly speaks to them.” — Margarita Olivas, California State University, Northridge

“Great topic and wonderful synthesis by Allen on why race matters in the United States.” — Deborah Burgess, University of Colorado, Denver

“Allen does a great job of incorporating timely issues of diversity into the discussion of organizational communication.” — Regina Spellers, Western Michigan University

“This text helps undergraduate students see the linkage between traditional interpersonal communication literature and applied organizational communication issues. Great text!” — Stephen Cox, Murray State University
Table of Contents
1. Difference and Other Important Matters
Difference Matters / Communicating Social Identity / About Me / Overview of the Book

2. Power Matters
Conceptions of Power / Control in Organizations / Communicating Power

3. Gender Matters
What Is Gender? /Why Gender Matters / Constructing Gender in the United States / Gender and Divisions of Labor / The Role of Education / Power Dynamics and Gender / Communicating Gender in Organizations

4. Race Matters
What Is Race? / Why Race Matters / Constructing Race in the United States / Race and Labor / Communicating Race

5. Social Class Matters
What Is Social Class? / Why Social Class Matters / Constructing Social Class in the United States / Communicating Social Class

6. Sexuality Matters
What Is Sexuality and Why Does It Matter? / Constructing Sexuality in the United States / Acquiring Information about Sexuality / Communicating Sexuality in Organizations

7. Ability Matters
Why Ability Matters / What Is Disability? / Constructing Disability in the United States / Communicating Ability / Interability Interactions at Work / Promising Practices

8. Age Matters
What Is Age? / Why Age Matters / Constructing Age in the United States / Communicating Age / Communicating Age in Organizations

9. Communicating Social Identity
Difference Matters / Social Identities Are Social Constructions / Power Matters / Communication Rules! / Recommendations