Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Viewing Bullying through the Lens of Shame

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Viewing Bullying through the Lens of Shame

Article excerpt

Viewing Bullying Through the Lens of Shame BEYOND BULLYING: Breaking the Cycle of Shame, Bullying, and Violence By J. Fast 2016, Oxford University Press

REVIEW BY LAUREN WARGELIN

In Beyond Bullying: Breaking the Cycle of Shame, Bullying, and Violence, Jonathan Fast argues that incidents of violence and bullying in the United States all have one commonality: shame. Shame is a basic, but powerful, emotion that maintains social relationships. We experience shame when our personal identity or membership in a group is challenged (e.g., being removed from a school sports team after breaking school rules) and when we attempt to join a higher status group (e.g., being rejected from college entrance at an Ivy League university). Though shame in certain situations is a healthy way of regulating behavior, it can also be detrimental and lead to negative psychological outcomes. Most people manage shame in healthy ways, but others withdraw from those around them, avoid the problem, attack others (e.g., bullying), or attack themselves (e.g., self-harm and suicide).

As examples of the mismanagement of shame, Fast explores several types of violence in this book, including school bullying, harrassment of gender and sexuality nonconforming students, violence against women by men, violence against Blacks and Hispanics by Whites, school shootings, and domestic terrorism. In all of these cases, he connects them to the underlying mechanism of shame and begins to explore solutions. One of these solutions is restorative justice, a mediation technique used in place of traditional punishments, where the offender meets with the victim and other community members im- pacted by the infraction. …

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