Mitchell, D. & Borg, T. (2013). Examining the lived experience of bullying: A review of the literature from an Australian perspective. Pastoral Care in Education: an international journal of personal, social and emotional development,31(2), 142-155. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/02643944.2012.747554
Bullying in schools is a significant and continuing issue in education. This is despite widespread attention within the professional education community and beyond, into the wider public arena. In this paper, we review the existing literature on bullying in schools, with a particular focus on the Australian secondary school context, to develop a position that questions the bully/victim binary pervading public discourse and educational research. In doing this, we identify common themes within the literature including: definitions of bullying; responses and interventions to bullying; discourses of bullying in schools; and the role of stakeholders involved in managing and responding to bullying incidents. Based on this review, we argue that much of the literature approaches the topic from an individual and psychological point of view, and there are multiple problems related to both methodology and representation. There appears to be an absence of research about the broader social contexts and processes in which bullying occurs, while there is a strong argument for its importance. From this basis, we briefly speculate on alternative approaches that potentially address such concerns and allow for new approaches to a continuing problem, in Australia and internationally.
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