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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bullying and knife crime - 'lower level' violence

BULLYING - 'lower-level' violence - hasn't been covered before on this knife crime blog. Why is that?

Because it's subtle. It can be very subtle... so seeing the connection(s) can be difficult.

Let's see how this blog post goes, or we can add bits and pieces about this and other 'lower level' violence info over the days, weeks, months ahead. We've got loads of time.

Here's an interesting few snippets about bullying:

Bullying in life
Bullying can be perpetrated by teachers and the school system itself (or other systems, or certain people, or gangs (criminal gangs e.g the mafia - this links goes to 'The British connection: Italian mafia finds UK good for doing business', a Guardian article - maybe the UK will get like this murdered Italian), gangs of workmates, and/or maybe just gangs of friends). There is an inherent power differential in 'the system' (or in gangs, or even between friends, I suggest) that can easily predispose to subtle or covert abuse (relational aggression or passive aggression), humiliation, or exclusion — even while maintaining overt commitments to anti-bullying policies.

Another way to consider how this might play out - or be playing out - in the UK:

A society that produces Mafia ('società mafiogena') - and 'omerta' - does so for many reasons: many people consider violence and illegality like survival e.g.

  • Means and ways of acquiring a social role;
  • Violence and illegality are usually unpunished;
  • The legal economy is too weak to offer substantial opportunities (this is seen all around the UK now, right?);
  • The State and the institutions are seen as distant and foreign - but then sometimes strangely approachable through the mediation of the mafiosi and their friends.
  • etc.

The struggles against the Mafia (in Italy / Sicily) have been lost, the people believe, and the consequences for many people are the mistrust and the belief that it is impossible to change the situation, social life is lacking because of a crisis of political parties, an insufficient role for trade unions, and civil society is too weak and precarious etc.

Mafia is a form of totalitarian state and its peculiarity is the territorial control ('signoria territoriale'), from the economy to politics, to private life. For the Mafia rights don't exist, there are only favours.

If intimidation, threats of death, omerta etc aren't bullying (in its worst form), I don't know what is.

Bullying at work
Workplace bullying seems mild in comparison but can be "repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work or some combination of the three."

Statistics show bullying is 3 times as likely as illegal discrimination and at least 1,600 times as prevalent as workplace violence.

Statistics also show that while only one employee in every 10,000 becomes a victim of workplace violence, one in six experiences bullying at work. Bullying is a little more common than sexual harassment but not verbal abuse which occurs more than bullying.

That's how it's written on Wikipedia. Wikipedia also describes the history of bullying thus:

"High-level forms of violence such as assault and murder usually receive most media attention, but lower-level forms of violence such as bullying, has only in recent years started to be addressed by researchers, parents and guardians and authority figures."

Knife crime, gun crime, violence in UK society, the world - and bullying. It makes you wonder if bullying is the essence of that thing we call 'evil' - certainly evil is there in bullying. The links seem obvious... but then it seems subtle. Hmmm, let me think, think, think (said Winnie the Pooh, tapping his head)... there's some answers in here somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. I see China is operating at a bullying level, using threats to try to push away UK Government protests about the execution of a British man (said to be mentally ill) - father-of-three, 53-year-old Akmal Shaikh, who lived in London.

    Mental illness can indeed cause people to do things they would not normally do, yet China chose to act in a Hitleresque way - preferring to build a Chinese-type master race, it seems. There is evil on that path and we do well to stand up to bullies.


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