When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was asked about the level of gang activity in his city, he explained “I’m not a sociologist or an anthropologist, so I can’t share with you the root causes of gang violence that you see in urban areas” (Sims, 2007). He did not include “social psychologist” on his list of experts on gangs, because social psychologists don’t study gangs—in fact, social psychologists don’t even study groups anymore. That is why Lee Ross, Mark Lepper, and Andrew Ward (2010), in their chapter on history in the Handbook of Social Psychology concluded that (a) the study of groups used to be called “group dynamics” and (b) “there is still a relative paucity of work on groups per se” (2010, p. 4).

Their pronouncement leaves me wondering why I still subscribe to the APA/EPF journal Group Dynamics. I’m also wondering why, within the field of social psychology, there is a journal that focuses on relationships (Personal Relationships), social cognition (Social Cognition), influence (Social Influence), and the self (Self and Identity) but three that examine group-level processes (Group Dynamics, Small Group Research, and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations). And why is the 2010 Encyclopedia of Group Processes & Intergroup Relations edited by John M. Levine and Michael A. Hogg a 2 volume, 998 page, compendium of over 300 entries?

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2012

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012 Society for Personality and Social Psychology. This article first appeared in Dialogue 26:1 (2012), 18-20.

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