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Normative cruelties and gender deviants: the performative effects of bully discourses for girls and boys in school

Ringrose, Jessica and Renold, Emma ORCID: 2010. Normative cruelties and gender deviants: the performative effects of bully discourses for girls and boys in school. British Educational Research Journal 36 (4) , pp. 573-596. 10.1080/01411920903018117

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Since the 1990s the educational community has witnessed a proliferation of ‘bullying’ discourses, primarily within the field of educational developmental social psychology. Drawing on ethnographic and qualitative interview data of primary and secondary school girls and boys, this article argues that the discourse ‘bullying’ operates to simplify and individualise complex gendered/classed/sexualised/racialised power relations embedded in children’s school‐based cultures. Using a feminist post‐structural approach, this article critically traces the discursive production of how the signifiers ‘bully’ and ‘victim’ are implicated in the ‘normative cruelties’ of performing and policing ‘intelligible’ heteronormative masculinities and femininities. It shows how these everyday gender performances are frequently passed over by staff and pupils as ‘natural’. The analysis also illustrates how bully discourses operate in complex racialised and classed ways that mark children out as either gender deviants, or as not adequately performing normative ideals of masculinity and femininity. In conclusion, it is argued that bully discourses offer few symbolic resources and/or practical tools for addressing and coping with everyday school‐based gender violence, and some new research directions are suggested.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0141-1926
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 14:16

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