New Perspectives on Bullying

New Perspectives on Bullying

New Perspectives on Bullying

New Perspectives on Bullying

Synopsis

"Hitherto books on bullying have focused either upon the peer victimization of children in schools or else on the harrassment of adults in the workplace. By contrast, this book takes as its subject matter bullying behaviour in a wide range of settings, including kindergartens and schools, workplaces, the home, prisons and sporting arenas. In each of these areas it examines alternative views and perspectives on bullying and discusses suggestions as to how bullying can be reduced. Dr Ken Rigby draws upon his extensive research on bullying in different countries and societies and different social contexts, and examines the influences behind such behaviour. Within this broader perspective he considers many aspects of bullying including: the defining characteristics of bullying; how bullying has been viewed historically; the harm that bullying does; proposed explanations for bullying behaviour; the contributions of parenting and family life; personality and environmental influences; the role of gender, race, and culture; and current views on methods of prevention and interventions to reduce bullying. In exploring perspectives on bullying, Ken Rigby seeks to deepen our understanding of the phenomena of bullying in its many and varied manifestations. At the same time, he outlines and critically examines proposed ways of tackling bully/victim problems that will be of much interest to professional workers, administrators, psychologists and others who work in this ever expanding field." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The history of bullying is long and harrowing. If there ever was a paradisal state in which people lived in harmony with each other it was short lived. In the Biblical story not a generation had passed away before brother Cain slew brother Abel. Anthropologists assure us that the Neanderthal were replaced by more advanced and powerful homo sapiens. A major theme of recorded history is the exploitation of the weak by the strong. Not accidentally but purposively. We shrug our shoulders. It was ever thus. Why should we expect things to change ?

And yet through the ages people have asked again and again why must it be so. Bold spirits from Jesus Christ to Martin Luther King have told us that the lion can lie down with the lamb; that brother can be at peace with brother, whatever their differences. Meanwhile, the terrorists terrorise and the avengers avenge. Where could we begin ?

A new generation of researchers has focussed on children in schools. The systematic study of bullying began in Scandinavia in the 1970s. Professor Dan Olweus conducted his research in schools in Sweden and Norway. He defined, classified and estimated the incidence of bullying behaviour. He sought to explain why some children bullied and others were victimised. He did more that that. He showed that bullying could be significantly reduced in schools. This was a very important achievement. Its implications were potentially colossal. Fellow social researchers were impressed. Before the 20th century had closed, hundreds of similar studies had been conducted in many countries around the world. Books, articles, web-sites, videos, CDs began to appear in profusion explaining what we could do to stop bullying in schools.

This in itself could be seen as the fruits of a new perspective on bullying: a view that at least in one area of human interaction the age-old problem of the strong exploiting the weak could be countered; that people could be educated not to bully or be bullied. School was a natural starting point. No-one doubted that bullying occurred in schools and that some children suffered appallingly as a result of it. For some adults, this is what bullying essentially was: strong, aggressive kids picking on weaker, softer kids. Moreover, here was a [captive] population of young people who could be carefully studied. Here was a gathering of educators who could be persuaded to try out new ways of altering children's . . .

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