Bullying, social power and heteronormativity: Girls' constructions of popularity

Neil Duncan, Laurence Owens

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Literature on girls' popularity posits a strong association between popularity, social power and bullying behaviours, some of which conflate the concepts 'bully' and 'popular'. This study explores that association through links to concepts of popularity among girls in two demographically different high schools. Data are presented that were derived from the application of Q methodology to the problem of comparing girls' attributions of popularity. Twenty-eight girls sorted items relating to attributes of popular girls. Despite the profound differences between the schools, all loaded heavily on one single factor: attractiveness to boys. The findings and the process have relevance for developing anti-bullying work in classrooms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)306-316
    Number of pages11
    JournalChildren and Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


    • Bullying
    • Girls
    • Heteronormativity
    • Popularity
    • Q methodology
    • School


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