Profile Sheet | "Permanently Normative?"-Project
Stine Kaplan Jørgensen,
Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Teacher Education, University College Copenhagen
My academic background is within (social)psychology and cultural studies. My focus the resent 10 years has been om bullying. Not understood as a problem caused by individuals traits but as a cultural phenomenon where bullying is to be seen as social processes and in- and exclusions that evolves in groups. My interest is on the discursive practices, negotiations, relations of power etc.
I have been a part of a larger research program called eXbus (exploring bullying in schools) in Denmark. My part of the project was an empirical study of group conversations that intends to reduce or stop bullying.
One of the common solutions on problems that is often used in Danish Schools is “talking about it”. You often hear this in the public school: “You have to talk to an adult”, “we have to talk about it”, “I will sit down with them and have a talk” as if talking is always a productive solution that will cause positive transformation.
Sometimes the talking is organized in different formations, with different dominating ideas about what will make the transformation. It is some of these organized group meetings (that are very often used as a method against bullying) that I have been focusing on; trying to examine whether and how the group conversations reduce or reinforce existing bullying patterns.
When you examine some of the ideas or discourses of transformation inherent in these meetings, it is striking how many different logics of transformation you find. Some of them saying that if we talk about the positive: what works and is successful, this will grow, and the problems will be eliminated (this is a typical Appreciative Inquiry logic). And an opposite logic, which I call “the talking cure”; a logic saying that if we talk about problems they will disappear (this logic is present in “girlmeetings” where you’re are supposed to talk about “how you feel”, “how things look form your perspective” etc.).
I don’t recon talking as innocent – but as discursive practices – power negotiations about both moral orders, values, and subjectivity. I have been looking into how different logics and dominating principles frame the discursive practice. For example, how certain things are say-able and not say-able due to different framings. And, into how the children (and the adult present) position themselves and continue in- and exclusions, production of contempt etc. – just in more subtle and hidden ways. This means that even though you’re setting up the group meeting with the best intentions and you want to take care of the children (and the victims of bullying) you very easily risk doing more harm.
Fields of research often seem to be a bit closed around themselves. I have a feeling that the findings within bullying research about the creations of moral orders, negotiations of values and the strategic use of power is very much relatable to other fields of research. Therefore, I’m very excited to be a part of the interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge.