The Anti-Bullying Myth: Bullying and Aggression in an Inhabited Institution

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Department 1



Using ethnographic data from two elementary schools, this chapter addresses the question of why, given the widespread focus of bullying and aggression researchers on social contexts, teachers and school staff members would continue to approach these problems from an individualistic standpoint, resulting in individualistic attempts at solutions. To answer this question, the author draws on inhabited institutionalism and school culture approaches to examine the interactive processes by which students and adults in these schools dealt with the cultural myth of bullying, contributing to school cultures in which aggressive behaviors were normalized and individualistic definitions of bullying were preferred. These processes allowed both students and adults to define their own behaviors in more favorable ways, with aggressive students defining themselves as non-bullies and adults claiming the effectiveness of their anti-bullying efforts.


The book containing this chapter is available from the publisher's website.



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