School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender

School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender

School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender

School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender

Synopsis

Drawing on one of the most comprehensive and representative studies of school violence ever conducted, Benbenishty and Astor explore and differentiate the many manifestations of victimization in schools, providing a new model for understanding school violence in context. The authors makestriking use of the geopolitical climate of the Middle East to model school violence in terms of its context within as well as outside of the school site. This pioneering new work is unique in that it uses empirical data to show which variables and factors are similar across different cultures andwhich variables appear unique to different cultures. This empirical contrast of universal with culturally specific patterns is sorely needed in the school violence literature. The authors' innovative research maps the contours of verbal, social, physical, and sexual victimization and weaponspossession, as well as staff-initiated violence against students, presenting some startling findings along the way. When comparing schools in Israel with schools in California, the authors demonstrate for the first time that for most violent events the patterns of violent behaviors have the samerelationship for different age groups, genders, and nations. Conversely, they highlight specific kinds of violence that are strongly influenced by culture. They reveal, for example, how Arab boys encounter much more boy-to-boy sexual harassment than their Jewish peers, and that teacher-initiatedvictimization of students constitutes a significant and often overlooked type of school violence, especially among certain cultural groups. Crucially, the authors expand the paradigm of understanding school violence to encompass the intersection of cultural, ethnic, neighborhood, and familycharacteristics with intra-school factors such as teacher-student dynamics, anti-violence policies, student participation, grade level, and religious and gender divisions. It is only by understanding the multiple contexts of school violence, they argue, that truly effective prevention programs,interventions, research agendas, and policies can be implemented. In an age of heightened concern over school security, this study has enormous implications for school violence theory, research, and policy throughout the world. The patterns that emerge from the authors' analysis form a blueprintfor the research agenda needed to address new and exciting theoretical and practical questions regarding the intersections of context and school victimization. The unique perspective on school violence will undoubtedly strike a chord with all readers, informing scholars and students across thefields of social work, psychology, education, sociology, public health, and peace/conflict studies. Its clearly written and accessible style will appeal to teachers, principals, policy makers and parents interested in the authors' practical discussion of policy and intervention implications, makingthis an invaluable tool for understanding, preventing, and handling violence in schools throughout the world.

Excerpt

It is virtually impossible to live in the Middle East and be unaffected by geopolitical violence. This morning CNN, the New York Times, and most other international media outlets reported the capture of yet another terror cell that was planning to commit another tragedy against innocents. For the past few years there have been almost weekly, if not daily, tragic losses of innocent Jewish and Arab children’s lives due to political violence. Adding to the existing stress, while this book was being written, the United States was conducting a massive war in Iraq. Early in the war, the Israeli Jewish and Arab public were concerned about possible use of biological or chemical weapons by Iraq; every family in Israel was issued gas masks and biological weapon kits, and each house prepared a special room in the event of a chemical weapon attack. The continual painful images of victims portrayed by the media following a terror attack permeate the daily emotional and psychological lives of all children who are potential targets of political violence. Suffice it to say that in Israel, terrorism and war are constant variables in the psyche of each individual.

Now, this societal concern about terrorism and random political violence extends beyond Israel. It seems as though most of the Western world is living in a post9/11 awareness that peace and safety are intermittent and fleeting qualities—that politically motivated terrorism can impinge on the day-to-day lives of people anywhere and everywhere. Clearly, we live in a globally dangerous era, and there is heightened awareness that the terror threats are real.

Nevertheless, coexisting with this heightened awareness and almost paradoxically, the day-to-day lives of most children and the interpersonal transactions in families and schools (at least at the most proximal levels) do not always mirror the horrid images seen in the media, even in the most threatening and seemingly dire geopolitical climates, such as the Middle East. For example, today, after hearing the lachrymose CNN report about potential chemical attacks from Arab countries on . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.