Bullismo at School: a New Frame for Old Behaviours

Rosalba Perrotta


The sensitizing concepts of Symbolic Interactionism are particularly useful to analyse and solve social problems. To understand the phenomenon of bullying we can consider it through the lens of concepts such as: definition of the situation, frame, moral panic, deviant career and so on. ‘Bullismo’ is, in Italian, a new word, but school aggressiveness is nothing new: behaviours which are now put into the frame of bullying were, in the past, tolerated or accepted; we can find testimonies of these attitudes in memories, autobiographies and novels. Mass media shows bullying as something new and terribly dangerous, driving public opinion towards a reaction of moral panic that amplifies it. To block deviant careers we must look at the phenomenon through rationality and not through exasperated emotions. We need better knowledge of the different definitions of the situation of the interacting parts, in order to neutralize the negative self-image of the offender and appeal, through both role-taking and behaving as looking-glasses, to the positive aspects of his/her self.


bullying; Symbolic Interactionism; moral panic

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13136/isr.v9i2.280

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