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The Bully Society
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The Bully Society
School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America's Schools
Creators: Jessie Klein
Publisher: NYU Press
Pub. date: 03/06/2012
Lib. SRP: 133.50 USD
Ret. SRP: 133.50 USD
Format: Adobe PDF eBook
ISBN: 9780814771495
DRM Level: Adobe Content Server 4
Min. Version: Adobe Digital Editions
File size: 2694 KB
Languages:
   English
Subjects:
   Sociology, Nonfiction
  null
Short Description:
   

In today's schools, kids bullying kids is not an occasional occurrence but rather an everyday reality where children learn early that being sensitive, respectful, and kind earns them no respect. Jessie Klein makes the provocative argument that the rise of school shootings across America, and childhood aggression more broadly, are the consequences of a society that actually promotes aggressive and competitive behavior. The Bully Society is a call to reclaim America's schools from the vicious cycle of aggression that threatens our children and our society at large.

Heartbreaking interviews illuminate how both boys and girls obtain status by acting "masculine"—displaying aggression at one another's expense as both students and adults police one another to uphold gender stereotypes. Klein shows that the aggressive ritual of gender policing in American culture creates emotional damage that perpetuates violence through revenge, and that this cycle is the main cause of not...

Full Description:
   

In today's schools, kids bullying kids is not an occasional occurrence but rather an everyday reality where children learn early that being sensitive, respectful, and kind earns them no respect. Jessie Klein makes the provocative argument that the rise of school shootings across America, and childhood aggression more broadly, are the consequences of a society that actually promotes aggressive and competitive behavior. The Bully Society is a call to reclaim America's schools from the vicious cycle of aggression that threatens our children and our society at large.

Heartbreaking interviews illuminate how both boys and girls obtain status by acting "masculine"—displaying aggression at one another's expense as both students and adults police one another to uphold gender stereotypes. Klein shows that the aggressive ritual of gender policing in American culture creates emotional damage that perpetuates violence through revenge, and that this cycle is the main cause of not only the many school shootings that have shocked America, but also related problems in schools, manifesting in high rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-cutting, truancy, and substance abuse. After two decades working in schools as a school social worker and professor, Klein proposes ways to transcend these destructive trends—transforming school bully societies into compassionate communities.

Reviews:
  Publisher's Weekly
     

December 19, 2011
In this thorough examination of the connection between bullying and three decades of school shootings in America, Adelphi University professor Klein pre-sents a compelling case that the strict gender rules by which American children and teenagers are unfairly forced to live are the driving factors in school violence. As Klein writes: “Although the forms of school violence may differ, the same patterns emerge. Boys (and, increasingly, girls) lash out to prove that they can fulfill their narrow gender prescriptions.” Boys (and even girls) are increasingly required to show constant proof of their “masculinity” without the slightest hint of weakness, and those who don’t succeed in impressing their peers are taunted and bullied, sometimes with extreme and disastrous results. Klein highlights the unfortunate intersections of masculinity, competitiveness, and American culture, demonstrating that these deeply ingrained social rules don’t end when students move into adulthood; this isn’t a problem just for kids, she argues, but for society at large. Klein’s accessible research ranges from statistical analysis to interviews, all applied within a framework of sociological theory. However, Klein makes such a convincing argument that this overmasculinization is an American problem that it’s hard (though tempting) to buy her final suggestion that perhaps kids just need to feel more connected at school to avoid the bullying and tragedies that can result.

  Kirkus
     

January 1, 2012
In her first book, Klein (Sociology and Criminal Justice/Adelphi Univ.) presents an exhaustive and sure-to-be-controversial examination of school shootings, and, more broadly, the culture of violence, intimidation and exclusion that typifies the school experience in America. "[O]ur children," she writes, "feel terrorized and tormented on a daily basis." Boys and girls in school, and increasingly out of school through cyberspace, are subject to a rigid and unforgiving hierarchy based on violently enforced norms. Any deviation from these norms--of rigid heterosexuality, of the proper status symbols signifying wealth, of being strong and able-bodied--is met with a barrage of violent and aggressive behavior, ceaseless bullying and ferocious isolation. In what Klein terms a culture of "hypermasculinity," cruelty is not only expected but deemed necessary--to not bully is to be bullied. In such a context, school shootings are not so much aberrations but the ultimate act of bullying and affirmation of masculinity by students, mostly boys, marginalized beyond endurance. Students learn bullying behavior from adults, who engage in the same type of individualistic status seeking or simply look the other way in tacit approval of bullying as the norm. In turn, the whole of society sanctions such aggression and cruelty as unbridled capitalism makes life a zero-sum game in which the terror of not making it becomes a war of all against all. While we may not be able to transform the overall culture, Klein provides numerous examples in which compassion and cooperation become dominant values. While the author writes with clarity and compassion--this is hardly a dry academic tome--it is a big leap from the murderous actions of a few to the condemnation of an entire economic system. Still, it would be a mistake to dismiss Klein's thesis out of hand, as she offers an opportunity for us to examine, discuss and consider the world we have created for our children. Overambitious but challenging condemnation of schools as learning grounds for hatred.

(COPYRIGHT (2012) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

Creator Marketing:
  Jessie Klein     
     

Jessie Klein, Ph.D., MSW, M.Ed. is Assistant Professor of Sociology/Criminal Justice at Adelphi University. Over the last two decades, she also led and administered high school guidance programs. She served as a supervisor, school social worker, college adviser, social studies teacher, substance abuse prevention counselor and conflict resolution coordinator. Her writing appears in scholarly journals as well as popular media. She is available for speaking events; and offers consultations for schools interested in building compassionate communities leading to more peaceful, effective and productive education environments.

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