Bullying affects: the affective violence and moral orders of school bullying

Ben Lohmeyer, Steven Threadgold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Second paradigm school bullying scholars are challenging the reliance on psychological and behavioural paradigms both in Australia and globally. Approaching bullying as ‘social violence’ has enabled previously underexplored social and cultural dimensions to receive much-needed focus. Bourdieu’s ‘symbolic violence’ offers an avenue to explore the moral and affective dimensions of school bullying as ‘social violence’, yet it contains a controversial complicity dynamic that must not be overlooked. This paper considers three narratives of teacher-to-student bullying gathered through interviews and focus groups with 11 young people 17–20 years of age enrolled in secondary education in South Australia. Through these narratives, we reimagine symbolic violence as ‘affective violence’ where complicity is attributed to the institutional and social dynamics. This approach focuses away from discourses of individual responsibility reinforced by the first paradigm of school bullying and identifies the institutional and social origins of harm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-496
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Issue number5
Early online date3 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • School Bullying
  • affect
  • violence
  • complicity
  • moral
  • symbolic violence


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