"An engaging, fascinating, and important book." -Spencer Cahill, University of South Florida "An in-depth and often sobering account of the social dynamics of childhood in the 1990s. This important study extends our knowledge of peer culture beyond the walls of classrooms into the day to day dilemmas of middle class children as they seek power and acceptance from their peers." -Donna Eder, author of School Talk "An excellent addition to a growing number of rich empirical studies of children's lives and peer cultures. The Adlers' study demonstrates the importance of entering children's worlds and gaining their perspectives for a new sociology of childhood." -William A. Corsaro, Indiana University Peer Power explodes existing myths about children's friendships, power, and popularity, and the gender chasm between elementary school boys and girls. Based on eight years of intensive insider participant observation in their own children's community, the book discusses the vital components in the lives of preadolescents: popularity, friendships, cliques, social status, social isolation, loyalty, bullying, boy-girl relationships, and afterschool activities. It describes how friendships shift and change, how children are drawn into groups and excluded from them, how clique leaders maintain their power and popularity, and how the individuals' social experiences and feelings about themselves differ from the top of the pecking order to the bottom. The Adlers focus their attention on the peer culture of the children themselves and the way this culture extracts and modifies elements from adult culture. Children's peer culture, as it is nourished in those spaces where grownups cannot penetrate, stands between individual children and the larger adult society. As such, it is a mediator and shaper, influencing the way children collectively interpret their surroundings and deal with the common problems they face. The Adlers explore some of the patterns that develop in this social space, noting both the differences in the gendered cultures of boys and girls and their overlap into afterschool activities, role behavior, romantic inclinations, and social stratification. Peer culture shows the informal social mechanisms through which children create their social order, determine their place and identity, and develop positive and negative feelings about themselves. Patricia A. Adler is a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado. Peter Adler is a professor of sociology at the University of Denver. The Adlers have worked and written together for more than twenty-five years, producing ten books and more than fifty articles.