Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2014)

Volume 11 Issue 2 

ISSN: 1524-6345

A Critical Foundations Analysis of "The Bully" in Canada's Schools

Desi S. Valentine

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Athabasca University, Canada

E-mail: valentined@shaw.ca


     This essay examines the social, political and economic foundations on which current systems of status are built and maintained inside Canada's public schools. Mass media, neo-liberal political and economic forms, and colonial models of social stratification are revealed via historical narrative and collective biography as persistent and effective instruments employed to shape schoolchildren toward idealized social roles.  The contemporary 'school bully' in neoliberal Canada now serves to embody the violence, aggression, status and individuality we celebrate inside and outside our schools while masking the superficiality of popular collectivist, socially inclusive ideals.  Critical analysis of Canada's public school system's historical, sociocultural and political foundations here draws on Foucauldian concepts to reveal the 'school bully' as a long-standing mechanism for identifying difference and enforcing exclusion, now coopted by policy-makers, educators and parents to legitimate a Panoptic reshaping of the culture of childhood.

    Keywords: critical foundations of education, school bullying, neoliberalism,

                      Panopticism, peer-victimization, public schooling in Canada, relational

                      aggression, social control