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  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    Resisting Bullying: Narratives of Victims and Their Families

    Savitri Khanna

    A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

    In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

    Doctor of Philosophy in Education

    Faculty of Education

    University of Ottawa

    Savitri Khanna, Ottawa, Canada, 2013

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    ii

    Abstract

    Bullying has severe consequences for school-aged adolescents who have experienced

    repeated victimization and for the families as well. While there is a considerable body of

    research on bullying and its effects on victims, very little research has been devoted to studying

    the experiences and resistance of the targeted young people and their families in the bullying

    situations. The literature on bullying characterizes victims as unable to defend themselves; this

    depiction is limited, simplistic, and one-dimensional. This dissertation presents an alternate

    view, focusing on the experiences and responses of victims and their families. The thesis draws

    on a poststructural view and a response-based framework to present a new perspective on the

    victims of bullyinga perspective that contrasts with the common depiction of helpless, power-

    less victims and foregrounds the personal agency of young people who have responded to

    bullying.

    Data for this study was collected in the form of narratives from the families and eleven

    to fifteen year old school adolescents who have been targets of ongoing bullying. The sample

    consisted of four families and five adolescents. The interview questions were based on Allan

    Wades response-based approach. The participants narratives focused on their responses to

    bullying. Each narrative was read thoroughly for themes related to the skills and the knowledge

    adolescents have used in responding to peer aggression. Similarly, parents narratives were

    examined for themes of their responses to the bullying of their children. The conclusion from

    the findings indicated that the parents and adolescents responded to bullying in many small but

    prudent and resourceful ways.

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    iii

    The study makes a methodological contribution by introducing a data gathering and

    analysis protocol that invites forward accounts of responses to transgressions typically

    overlooked by dominant discourses focused on victimization. The dissertation suggests a novel

    approach to listening and responding to young persons and their families who face

    marginalization, violence, and racial discrimination.

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    iv

    Acknowledgment

    First and foremost my heartfelt thanks to my thesis supervisor, Dr. David Par, for his

    invaluable guidance and immense patience throughout my PhD journey. Thank you, David, for

    taking me on as your doctoral student, and guiding me with your insights, wisdom and scholarly

    advice. I am grateful for the generosity you have extended to me in myriad ways introducing

    me to scholarly new ideas, the articles, the books, and especially Allan Wades article that

    changed my thinking for ever. I am extremely lucky to have a supervisor who genuinely cared

    about my work, and had confidence in my abilities to complete this research project. You are a

    true mentor in every sense of the word. Thank you.

    I would like to thank my advisory committee members, Dr. Cristelle Audet, Dr.

    Raymond Leblanc, and Dr. Awad Ibrahim, for their interest in my research topic, valuable

    insights, and constructive suggestions for enriching this dissertation with their perspectives. I

    truly appreciate your sharing the time for my research in your busy schedule. Thank you,

    Cristelle, you were always available to help me with my nagging questions. Sincere thanks go to

    my external examiner Dr. Cathy Richardson for her insights and challenging comments.

    I would like to thank Dr. Allan Wade, whose response-based framework I have

    employed in my research. Allan, you were always available to answer my questions and I am

    grateful for your responsiveness, support, and help.

    Special thanks go to the families who participated in this research project. I will be

    forever grateful to the brave parents and adolescents who placed their confidence in me and

    shared their personal experiences with honesty and openness. Without their participation this

    research would not have taken off.

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    v

    My deepest thanks go to my brother Sunil, sisters Maya and Asha, and nephew Rajeev, in

    India, for their encouragement and support all along this journey. I will be always grateful to all

    my friends, especially to Anne, Cecelia, Louise, Molly, and Winsome for their support and

    encouragement. You were there whenever I needed help and someone to talk to. Your

    friendship meant a lot to me during this journey. Anne, you were a godsend to me. Very special

    thanks go to my brilliant daughter, Kajal, who always encouraged me and motivated me to aim

    for the finish line.

    I acknowledge the financial support provided by the University of Ottawa for four years.

    Thanks are due to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for their support and

    providing me the opportunity to complete my academic pursuit.

    And finally, Shyam, you were always there with me.

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    vi

    Dedicated

    To Shyam, my love forever . . .

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    vii

    Understanding marginality as a position and a place of resistance is crucial for

    oppressed, exploited, colonized people. If we only view the margin as sign, marking

    the condition of our pain and deprivation, then a certain hopelessness and despair, a

    deep nihilism penetrates in a destructive way the very ground of our being. It is

    there in that space of collective despair that ones creativity, ones imagination is at

    risk, there that ones mind is fully colonized, there that the freedom one longs for is

    lost. Truly the mind that resists colonization struggles for freedom of expression.

    That struggle may not begin with the colonizer; it may begin within ones

    segregated colonized community and family.

    bell hooks, Marginality: As Site of Resistance, 1990, p. 341

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    viii

    Table of Contents

    Abstract ii

    Acknowledgement iv

    Dedication vi

    Table of Contents viii

    Preface xv

    Tensions: Deconstructing terminologies xv

    Chapter 1: Introduction 1

    Overview of the Problem: Introduction to Bullying 2

    Defining bullying 2

    Bullying and harassment 5

    Context of the Problem 5

    Types of Bullying 6

    Verbal bullying 6

    Physical bullying 8

    Relational bullying 9

    Cyber bullying 10

    The Bullying Triad 12

    The bullies 13

    The bully-victims 15

    The victims 17

    Consequences of Bullying 18

    Experiences of Bullying 19

    Poststructural View of Self and Identity 21

    Response-based Approach 22

    Significance of the Study 23

    Positioning Myself 24

    Navigating the Dissertation 25

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    ix

    Chapter 2: Review of the Literature 27

    Experiences of Victims of Bullying 28

    Quantitative studies of experiences of victims 28

    Comments on quantitative studies of experiences of victims 35

    Quantitative studies of victims responses to bullying 35

    Qualitative studies of victims experiences and responses of victims 40

    Information from other sources 46

    Qualitative Experiences and Responses of Families of Victims 48

    Chapter 3: Conceptual Framework 52

    Poststructural Lens 52

    Poststructural view of self and identity 54

    Theories of Power and Resistance 57

    Foucault: Power 58

    Ubiquity of resistance 60

    Scott: The Arts of Resistance 62

    Wades Response-based Analytic Framework 64

    Violence is social and unilateral 65

    Violence is deliberate 66

    Resistance is ubiquitous 66

    Language of effects and responses 68

    Research Goals 71

    Research Question 72

    Chapter 4: Research Methodology and Methods 73

    Research Methodology 73

    Narrative inquiry 73

    Narrative and temporality 75

    Narrative and coherence 76

    Understanding lived experiences 77

  • Running head: RESISTING BULLYING: NARRATIVES OF VICTIMS . . .

    x

    Collaboration between researcher and participants 78

    Narrative is living, telling, retelling, and reliving 79

    Narratives 79

    Narratives and children 79

    Narratives and adults 80

    Narrative Analysis 81

    Structural analysis 82

    Dialogic performance analysis 82

    Thematic analysis 83

    Response-Based Methodology 83

    Roadm