Friday, June 17, 2005


The dynamics of enclosure are helpfully understood as involving very personal and emotionally-charged experiences. Not least among such experiences would be the experience of being bullied. What's of interest to me is the way in which bullying becomes normalized within an environment, and the ways in which those being bullied can often become the collateral damage of the "environment of enclosure". I think there's also the issue of the role of legislation and official procedure as well - to what extent is it possible to deploy official procedure to deal with the issue without either 1) reproducing the sense of oppressiveness and despair that someone being bullied often feels, as they get lost in bureaucratic nightmares and feel that no-one is taking them seriously, or 2) reproducing an unhelpful dynamic of blame and shame which is hardly going to improve the relational dynamics in the long term. Are there times when it is helpful in the short term to turn to official authorities in an institution for the primary purposes of standing up for oneself, laying a situation bare and transparent, calling people to account for their actions, and somehow address the serious consequences of bullying without in turn counter-oppressing the bullies themselves, who would likely be helped by support and counselling or at least personal re-evaluation. In a sense I suppose it's a microcosm of the legal justice/penal system/crime and punishment debate, which is pretty complex as they go. A few sites to help you in thinking about bullying in the workplace and at school and how to deal with and understand such situations:

FAQ for bullying in the workplace:

Sharp et al. "How Long Before it Hurts?: An Investigation into Long-term Bullying." School Psychology International. 2000; 21: 37-46.