Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

2. Bullying among University Students

Academic journal article International Journal of Emotional Education

2. Bullying among University Students

Article excerpt

2. Bullying Among University Students Editors: Helen Cowie & Carrie-Anne Myers Publisher: Routledge, New York Year of Publication: 2015 ISBN: 978-1-138-80926-0

This book makes a welcome contribution to the field of bullying studies on a topic that up to recently has not received adequate attention. The editors have brought together a significant amount of disparate research related to bullying among university students that otherwise may have been unknown to the reader and in doing so have created a critical mass of knowledge that will be the foundation of future research on this topic. I think it is noteworthy that rather than simply try to transpose established concepts of bullying from schools and workplaces the editors have attempted to open a discussion about how to conceptualise bullying among university students and have set out some of the challenges that will be encountered in addressing this insidious issue in higher education.

Following on from an overview of bullying among university students chapters in the book are organised into four themes, student experience, nature of bullying at university, social context of bullying at university, and interventions and policies. The book gives priority to the experience of students by placing this theme first and of particular importance the editors included a chapter by Rashid Aziz on the experiences of research students who can be quite vulnerable due to an unequal and almost intimate relationship with their thesis supervisor. However, no reference is made to the possibility of a research student bullying or harassing their supervisor which further research might show to be just as big a problem due to unrealistic expectations on the part of students.

Looking at the nature of bullying Ian Rivers makes an excellent contribution on the plight of LGBT students in relation to homophobic bullying in higher education. It seems somewhat ironic that centres of intellect and creative thinking would fail to be proactive and inclusive on LGBT issues. A recent example of this occurred in Ireland when universities found themselves unable to explicitly support the 2016 marriage equality referendum leaving it to students unions to raise the rainbow flag instead.

Under the theme of the social context of bullying authors Mali Porhola, Kristen Cvancara, EstaKaal, Kaja Tampere and Beatrice Torres provide findings from a large cross-cultural study about bullying in universities. Presenting data from Argentina, Australia, Finland and USA they argue that contrasting experiences of bullying in different countries arises out of cultural, political, geographic, historical, economic and educational contexts. However, I am not sure that these authors gave enough attention to the nuanced differences in how bullying is theoretically conceptualised and/or defined in different cultures which makes it difficult to contrast and compare bullying among university students across cultures. …

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