Teachers and secondary school bullying: A postmodern discourse analysis

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This paper analyses a set of accounts from within a postmodern discursive framework. Interviews were conducted with secondary school teachers and were semi-structured, focusing on school bullying. The aim of analysis was to tackle the problem of bullying at a discursive level. This marks a shift away from seeing bullying as something situated within the interpersonal relations of pupils, or explained in terms of fixed personality traits. This paper argues that in order to understand a social problem such as bullying, we have to be aware of the discursive limits employed in the way that the problem is constructed. It was found that teachers draw upon modernist discourses of individual responsibility and fixed personality traits, and that bullying strategies are maintained by these modernist individualist discourses. This paper goes on to provide recommendations for tackling bullying at a discursive level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages22
JournalDiscourse and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Derrida
  • Discourse analysis
  • Foucault
  • School bullying
  • Teachers

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