‘Everybody was a bully’: Schoolchildren’s Descriptions and Accounts of their Experiences of Bullying
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Bullying is a significant problem in schools today therefore research into this area is incredibly important. The ways in which schoolchildren (aged between 10 and 11 years old) talk about their experiences of bullying was examined. Twenty-five pupils from a small primary school on the outskirts of Edinburgh took part in a class discussion on bullying; ten of these pupils took part in two separate focus groups. A review of relevant literature on the subject of bullying among schoolchildren highlighted a tendency to use quantitative methods such as surveys. Problems with this approach will be discussed, reinforcing the choice to use a qualitative method of analysis for this study. Both the class discussion and focus groups were audio recorded and the class discussion was also video recorded. Transcriptions of the discussion and focus groups were analysed using analytic procedures typical to Discursive Psychology; which focuses on actions performed through talk and its sequential nature (McKinlay and McVittie, 2008). The aim was to find out how children talk about their experiences of bullying as well as how they account for their involvement in instances of bullying. It was found that the children used a number of devices to characterise victims of bullying as partly blameworthy. It was also discovered that the children attempted to play down the actions of bullying, and mitigate their involvement in instances of bullying by neutralising their accounts. Possible wider context implications of this research are discussed.