chapter  1
16 Pages

What is bullying in school and how has it been studied?

WithPeter K. Smith

This chapter outlines what we mean by bullying, the history behind the study of it, and the main forms it takes, including the development of cyberbullying. Bullying is an evocative term. Most people will have witnessed it or experienced it in one form or another. But only since the 1980s has there been serious interest, both from researchers and from the wider community. This suggests two aspects that distinguish bullying as a particular form of aggression: it is repeated, and there is an imbalance of power. This concept of bullying was first put forward clearly by Dan Olweus, a Swedish psychologist who has worked in Norway for much of his career. Serious research and consideration of school bullying started, in Europe at least, in the Scandinavian countries – especially Norway and Sweden, soon followed by Finland. Japan and South Korea are more collectivistic societies, whereas European and North American societies are more individualistic.