Understanding, desire and narrated subjectivity: a philosophical consideration of the phenomenon of school bullying

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Understanding, desire and narrated subjectivity: a philosophical consideration of the phenomenon of school bullying

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Title: Understanding, desire and narrated subjectivity: a philosophical consideration of the phenomenon of school bullying
Author: Jacobson, Ronald B
Abstract: Bullying within schools continues despite current anti-bullying strategies aimed against it. Bullying research has largely been of an empirical nature, employing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. This project adds a missing philosophical perspective, seeking to more deeply understand the nature of bullying and the realities which motivate and guide its activities. Within the empirical literature bullying is seen in part to be motivated by a lack of understanding, skill deficiency, misdirected status acquisition attempts, bully delinquency or ecological realities (i.e., through school culture, teacher modeling or peer pressure). Using hermeneutic philosophy, psychoanalytic and feminist philosophies, as well as post-structural philosophy, I analyze three experiences of understanding (as elucidated by Hans-Georg Gadamer), the desires at work within relations of domination (as discussed by Jessica Benjamin) and the realities of subjectivity narrations within systems of discourse and practice (as described by Michel Foucault). In the end I argue that bullying may be fundamentally seen as a process of attempted self-construction through domination, a process that actually eclipses self-knowledge and that is guided by the dividing practices inherent in school motivational discourse and practice. I suggest several implications for current and future anti-bullying strategies and research trajectories, including curricular strategies and school culture reform. In essence, this project discusses the possibility of proactive strategies aimed at stopping bullying before it starts.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 2007.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/7868

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