Nassem, Elizabeth (2011) Spectrums of bullying in the everyday experience of school. In: The British Psychological Society: 2011 Developmental Psychology Section Annual Conference, 7th-9th September 2011, Newcastle, UK.

The aim of this paper is to examine, from children’s perspectives, where bullying exists in their everyday experiences of school. This research uses a postmodernist perspective to problematise the concept of bullying and examine it from a broader perspective than most current definitions do, which distinguish the concept of bullying as a specific form of aggression, experienced by a minority of people. Rather, this paper examines bullying as spectrums of maltreatment that are experienced, to some extent by all pupils in school. Observations, focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with children in state schools, a private school and a pupil referral unit. Complex and contradictory findings emerged whereby several participants did not want to associate their experiences of maltreatment with the pathologised ‘bullying’ label and no-one referred to themselves as a ‘bully’. This paper discusses reasons why children bully and critically examines the concept of power of bullies and the loss of power that can occur as a result of being victimised. This paper highlights the complexity of the teachers’ role and demonstrates how, although teachers’ power in reducing bullying may be limited, teachers are not separate from the bullying process


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