Review of Preference Organisation and Peer Disputes: How Young Children Resolve Conflict

Deanna F. Womack, Kennesaw State University


Reviews the book, "Preference Organisation and Peer Disputes: How Young Children Resolve Conflict" by Amelia Church (2009). This book makes an important contribution to the literature on children's conflict. The monograph presents Church’s doctoral research and demonstrates the value of Conversation Analysis for understanding the structure of children’s natural conflict discourse. Approximately the first half of the book consists of text, and the second half is an appendix that presents transcripts and summaries of the author’s observations of 36 children’s “spontaneous peer interactions” at two Melbourne, Australia daycare centers. By the end of the book, Church has accomplished her goal of exploring children’s arguments through connected conversations rather than analyzing individual statements or strategies. Though her subject pool has limitations, Church notes that her research has shown a relationship between conversation and outcomes in the ways children organize disputes and advocates further research using Conversation Analysis. Preference Organisation and Peer Disputes adds to the sparse literature on children’s conflict by presenting research focused on previously unexplored structural issues.