Bullying : A Focus On Individual Characteristics Essays

Bullying : A Focus On Individual Characteristics Essays

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In contrast to a focus on individual characteristics, the dysfunction group dynamic also attends more to the influence of social processes when defining school bullying. Contextualised within the school community research that frames bullying as dysfunctional group dynamics moves the discussion of school bullying away from broader cultural influences and into the classroom (Hymel, McClure, Miller, Shumka, & Trach, 2014; Olthof, Goossens, Vermande, Aleva, & van der Meulen, 2011; Thornberg, 2011). Dysfunctional group dynamics attends to the social processes within the classroom and the school that lead to ‘destructive group-think… [which in a school context]… can be manifested as bullying’ (Schott, 2014). This third ontology of bullying marks a distinct shift away from individual processes towards interpersonal relationships and identity construction.

This perspective understands bullying to be an active process aimed at maintaining or reconstructing social hierarchies. It manifests where individuals or groups direct a systematic abuse of power or influence, targeted at individuals who cannot adequately defend themselves (adapted from Ellwood & Davies, 2014; K. Rigby, 2004; Ken Rigby & Slee, 2008). With this definition, the manifestation of bullying speaks to individual, institutional and broader political contexts. Through an emphasis on power and oppression, this definition of bullying incorporates the cultural norms addressed by theories of social violence, while also leaving space for individual aggressive behaviour.

This trajectory of research also recognised that bully-victim behaviours are not indicative of binary personality traits, but roles that exist along a spectrum. Furthermore, the role an individual played was si...


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... policy documentation created by schools themselves differs in the extent to which they engage with the principles of the NSSF. Where some schools have policy documents that indicate they are “committed to a ‘whole school’ or even a ‘whole community’ approach in which teachers, students and parents worked together … others provided a much more narrow focus” (Ken Rigby & Thomas, 2010, p.26). The limitation of school policies as a resource to examine the attitudes, beliefs and values of Australian school communities was highlighted in a content analysis comparing Victorian schools’ bullying policies to the documentation of schools in New Zealand. In this study, the researchers highlighted that Victorian schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy in order to meet the standards for registration (Marsh, Mcgee, Hemphill, & Williams, 2011). As the documentation is

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