Social violence and the trivialising effects of youth in school bullying: Extended listening to South Australian young people on bullying and violence

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Abstract

School bullying attracts significant research and resources globally, yet critical questions are being raised about the long-term impact of these efforts. There is a disconnect between young people's perspectives and the long-established psychology-based technical definitions of school bullying dominating practice and policy in Australia. This dominant paradigm has recently been described as the first paradigm of school bullying. In contrast, this paper explores the potential for reorienting school bullying research towards the concerns of young people and away from adult-derived technical definitions. Borrowing from paradigm two, which emphasises the social, cultural and philosophical (among others) elements of school bullying, in this paper, I approach bullying under the broad banner of ‘social violence’. This approach addresses some of the inherent limitations of the first paradigm to conceptualise social and cultural dynamics. I argue that a ‘social violence’ approach reveals that the exclusionary effects of the social phenomenon of youth continue to be overlooked. Furthermore, the term ‘violence’ in bullying research could benefit from integrating contemporary sociological insights on this phenomenon. This paper draws on qualitative insights from a small group of young people in secondary schooling in South Australia gained through prolonged listening to peer conversations in a series of focus groups. In addition, 1:1 interviews were conducted pre and post the focus group series. I argue that these participants' insights reveal the exclusionary effects of youth and the employment of bullying to trivialise young people's experiences and concern for harm. There is a need to reprioritise young people's knowledge in school bullying research and the exclusionary effects of youth alongside other social forces.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • bullying
  • trivialising
  • violence
  • youth

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