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Confronting School Bullying: Kids, Culture, and the Making of a Social Problem

Jeffrey W. Cohen and Robert A. Brooks
Confronting School Bullying: Kids, Culture, and the Making of a Social Problem
ISBN: 978-1-62637-152-1
2014/253 pages/LC: 2014014361
Social Problems, Social Constructions
Also in the series: Responding to School Violence: Confronting the Columbine Effect, edited by Glenn W. Muschert, Stuart Henry, Nicole L. Bracy, and Anthony A. Peguero, editors and Making Sense of Social Problems: New Images, New Issues edited by Joel Best and Scott R. Harris
"An insightful, detailed and critical discussion on the social construction of school bullying by the media as well as the contributory role of socio-cultural ideologies regarding gender, sexuality and youth violence in the emergence and perpetuation of the problem.... Compelling and thought-provoking."—Jenny Korkodeilou, International Review of Victimology

"A valuable contribution for those seeking to reflect on the entire field of bullying-related scholarship and for Social Problems instructors looking for new case studies."—Brett Lehman, Contemporary Sociology

"Helps readers to understand the full complexity of school bullying.... An invaluable contribution."—Alyssa L. Field, Journal of Youth and Adolescence

"This book should be a permanent part of the libraries of scholars, practitioners, and parents who are seeking an extensive review of bullying and techniques to effectively address factors associated with school bullying. Highly recommended."—Choice

"Strongly recommended.... Any attempt to make sense of the current debates around bullying requires the kind of incisive and detailed analysis that the authors provide."—Vincent Sacco, Queen's University

"A major contribution to understanding the social and ideological construction of bullying....  compelling throughout. The overview of the antibullying movement alone is worth the price of the book."—Joshua R. Klein, Iona College


Is bullying an innocent part of growing up ... or a serious problem requiring large-scale policy remedies? What is behind our rapidly changing perceptions of  "acceptable" behavior? And when is the remedy worse than the problem? In their in-depth view of school bullying, Jeffrey Cohen and Robert Brooks navigate between empirical evidence and breathless media accounts to make sense of ongoing debates and provide insights into the failure of punitive antibullying policies.


Jeffrey W. Cohen is assistant professor of criminal justice at University of Washington, Tacoma. Robert A. Brooks is associate professor of criminal justice at Worcester State University.


  • Bullying and the Shifting Construction of a Social Problem.
  • Bullying as an Individual Pathology.
  • From Personal Pathology to Collective Crisis.
  • From Collective Crisis to Collective Failure.
  • Gender and Social Control.
  • Constructing the Gay Victim.
  • The Anti-Bullying Industry.
  • Finding Comfort in Complexity. 
  • Appendix.