Bullying in the educational setting has become significantly prevalent. Children appear to be less restrained as to mean things they say to their peers, as evidenced with cyberbullying where atrocious statements are said behind a screen in anonymity. Bullying can be so damaging to a child which leads them to feel as if there was no escape other committing the act of suicide. Society has long believed that suicide is an individualistic problem, however sociologist Émile Durkheim posed the idea that sociology is socially rooted. This paper will convey the premise in Durkheim’s 1897 work Suicide: A Study in Sociology and relate the issues presented in the riveting documentary Bully, which represents first hand experiences of bullying experienced by school-age children.
Durkheim was concerned with studying and observing the ways in which society functioned. His work began with the idea of the collective conscious, which are the general emotions and opinions that are shared by a society and which shape likeminded ideas as to how the society will operate (Desfor Edles and Appelrouth 2010:100-01). Durkheim thus suggested that the collective ideas shared by a community are what keeps injustices from continuing or what allows them to remain.
The documentary film Bully (2011) – directed by Lee Hirsh – takes the viewer into the lives of five families that live in various, predominantly remote, towns across the United States. All families presented have been affected by bullying, either because their child was at the time being bullied by peers at school or the child committed suicide due to continuous bullying. The film also profiles an assistant principle, Kim Lockwood, whose indiscreetness makes the viewer...
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...hat social bonds are an inherent necessity to an inclusive and well-functioning society. Without social bonds, individuals will likely become socially isolated, alone and marginalized especially if they are not part of the hegemonic culture. Thus, the feelings of isolation will lead them to egoistic suicide. Consequently, those individuals which are part of the problem, such as school administrators are perpetuating bullies to continue harassing their victims. A living without direction, such as a bully may feel as if they are, too, living life without purpose therefore leading the bully to anomic suicide.
Desfor Edles, Laura and Scott Appelrouth. 2010. “Émile Durkheim (1858-1917).” Pp. 100 and 122-134 in Sociological Theory in the Classical Era. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
Hirsch, Lee. 2011. Bully. DVD. United States: The Weinstein Company.
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