Synopses & Reviews
Homophobic Bullying: Research and Theoretical Perspectives
provides a review of key studies that have shaped the way we view homophobia in educational contexts. Using theories and ideas drawn from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and ethology, this book aims to conceptualize homophobic bullying as a construct of dominant institutions and groups that reinforce beliefs about the abnormality of homosexuality. Rivers demonstrates how bullying is a complex social process in which perpetrators are supported by active confederates, passive bystanders, and indifferent onlookers. Rivers also discusses new forms of bullying, such as cyberbullying, and explores the theoretical and social-psychological implications of bullying using new technologies. He discusses the challenges faced by teachers in eroding negative, implicit attitudes in the face of socially acceptable, explicit expressions of these attitudes.
Included here are primary data drawn from various studies that Rivers has conducted over the past two decades, along with discussions of key studies conducted by other researchers in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Scandinavia. Rivers explores the psycho-social correlates and potential long-term effects of bullying and homophobia, using various clinical studies as a guide to understanding the potential harm that results from school-based aggression. An important feature of this book is the integration of primary quantitative and qualitative data, case studies from parents, suggested lesson plans, and reports of recent legal action that highlight the dangers for students and teachers of not combating this particular form of school violence. Finally, the book looks to the future and the changing face of schools, the gradual erosion of homophobia as an accepted 'norm' within society, and the institutions that train future generations. Ultimately, this book reflects the research journey of its author and the development of a substantive world-wide body of evidence charting the challenges faced by those who are or are simply labeled lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
"Powerful, clear, painful proof of the existence of homophobia in our schools. Rivers makes it clear that to make schools a safe space for all our young people and end the abuse, there needs to be education about LGBT issues and people across the curriculum and in all key stages."
Co-Chair Schools OUT and LGBT History Month
"Ian River's book might well have been titled, Everything You Wanted to Know about Homophobic Bullying. In it he reviews the research and theoretical perspectives on bullying in general and homophobic bullying in particular. He then reports his own extensive research and discusses implications for teachers, parents and the unfortunate victims of bullying. This book is a wake-up call to teachers and parents who must have access to resources, in order to stop the epidemic of homophobic bullying. It is a must-have resource for anyone concerned about lesbian, gay and bisexual children and adolescents."
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
"Homophobic Bullying not only documents the evident distress of being bullied for one's sexual orientation, but also takes a longer-term, lifespan development perspective that records the resilience strategies of marginalised groups. Rivers reiterates the immense importance of social support in helping lesbian, gay and bisexual youth navigate their way through childhood and adolescence into adulthood. There is a clear message here for schools and all those who work with young people."
University of Surrey
"The voices of pain are powerful...The author presents poignant, evocative narratives in which victims express the maelstrom of confusion that peer abuse etched on their memories. He integrates a rich review of pivotal investigations on the topic of bullying with primary quantitative and qualitative data as he introduces three original studies that focus on the victimization of sexual minorities. His insightful discussion of classic and contemporary theories from a multidisciplinary perspective will sharpen the reader's understanding of the complex set of psychosocial factors involved in this cycle of abuse. This is a powerful, timely reminder that there are no innocent bystanders in the "bullying circle." Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty/professionals." -- CHOICE
"Homophobic Bullying should be required reading for all persons
concerned with the welfare of the disenfranchised, be they members of the gay, lesbian, or
transgendered community or of other groups who are identified as outsiders or minorities
within our culture. This includes especially teachers, school administrators, public policy
makers, and social workers. It is equally important for those of us who deal with the need to
heal the psychopathology that results from these experiences. Finally, it should be read by
those (professional athletes or not) who feel justified in directing verbal abuse or physical
harm at persons who differ from themselves." -- Jerry Gold, PsychCRITIQUES
About the Author
Ian Rivers is Professor of Human Development at Brunel University. He has been an active researcher in the field of bullying behavior, and homophobic bullying in particular, for over two decades. He is the recipient of several awards and honors for his work and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the British Psychological Society.
Table of Contents
Bullying: An Overview of Research
Students Who Are Different
Psycho-Social Correlates and Long-Term Effects
The School Experience
Practical Issues for Parents and Teachers
The Legacy of Homophobic Bullying at School
Summary and General Conclusions