ERIC Number: EJ924479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
A Lost Horizon: The Experience of an Other and School Bullying
Jacobson, Ronald B.
Studies in Philosophy and Education, v26 n4 p297-317 Jul 2007
To date, research on bullying has largely employed empirical methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative approaches. Through this research we have come to understand bullying as both a dyadic and peer group phenomenon, primarily situated in the heads (thinking) of those involved, or in a lack of skill or expertise, or in the delinquency of a bully who needs to be reformed. This research has largely directed its strategies toward problem students using individual and peer group approaches. And yet school bullying continues to be a crucial educational issue affecting millions of students each year. In this project I introduce a missing philosophical perspective. Analyzing the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer I am led to conclude that typical anti-bullying strategies at times simply train bullies to be better at bullying (i.e., learning to bully more covertly, more expertly so as to inflict the same devastation without adult detection). Gadamer invites us to think about bullying in new ways. While certainly involving the thinking and skills of the bully and the victim, Gadamer contends that bullying does not fundamentally result from a problem within the participants, but is fostered by certain spaces between them; terrains that cultivate specific experiences of an "other". Generally, this project stems from an interest in the ways that domination develops in this "space between". Specifically in this paper I ask: What is the nature of "hermeneutic" experience as conceptualized by Gadamer? What kinds of experiences of an other does bullying exemplify? What kinds of experience of an other do non-bullying relations exemplify and what kinds of relational spaces foster such experience? This paper opens up significant new territory for anti-bullying work, expanding our focus to include the space between students which fosters certain inter-personal experiences--experiences situated in domination and stymied growth or, alternatively, experiences of reciprocity which open the possibility of human growth and transformation.
Descriptors: Bullying, Peer Groups, Experience, Perspective Taking, Hermeneutics, Interpersonal Relationship, Power Structure, Individual Development, Transformative Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
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