“Let’s talk about it”: Group conversations that unintendedly reinforces bullying patterns

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperCommunication


The paper is based on the dissertation "Bullying and interventions – positioning theoretical analysis of group conversations with children” (Kaplan Jørgensen 2016), which is a qualitative study of selected group meetings used in Danish Schools with the intention to reduce or stop bullying. Many of those group meetings lean on assumptions of transformative potentials in “dialogues” – convictions that “talking about it” is a helpful and rather harmless practice. This paper takes a critical stance towards these assumptions and argues that the “talking about it” is far from innocent and potentially have unintended effects.
Based on a comprehensive qualitative study the paper offers insight into power struggles and negotiations that take place during group meetings and shows how these negotiations interact with current bullying patterns in selected classes. The paper sheds light on how the conversations are appropriated by the children to continue micro-political negotiations in ways that are adjusted to the dominant principles that the different arenas are led by. For example, how a girl meeting, which is dominated by a "talking cure" principle, requires and legitimizes certain speech acts and storylines, which, despite the fact that they are producing contempt and are enforcing already existing exclusions, gain ground and become dominant among the girls at the meeting. One of the important insights is thus that group conversations - despite the good intentions, - will sometimes be a paradoxical force which, rather than reducing bullying patterns, might strengthen them.
Translated title of the contribution"Lad os snakke om det" - gruppesamtaler, der mod intentionen forstærker mobbemønstre
Original languageEnglish
Publication date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2017
EventWorld Anti Bullying Forum 2017 - Quality Hotel Friends, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 7 May 20179 May 2017


ConferenceWorld Anti Bullying Forum 2017
LocationQuality Hotel Friends
Internet address


  • children and youth
  • learning, educational science and teaching

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