Dennis Barr on Bullying and Ostracism
Dennis Barr is the Director of Program Evaluation at Facing History and Ourselves, as well as a psychologist. He was the principal investigator for the Carnegie Corporation of New York-funded research project that studied the impact and processes of Facing History and Ourselves. The Ostracism Case Study emerged from this project.
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"The initial research on bullying focused a lot on what I think people think of as more the teasing and the physical aggression that can occur and this issue that the case raises around relational aggression really didn’t come to the fore until the last fifteen years or so. Over the last fifteen years, there have been many books written, and articles written about this kind of aggression, or this kind of bullying that can occur in relationships. Where it involves not necessarily direct action towards the victim, but indirect action that can have just as strong an effect. So the shunning or the ostracizing, the not paying attention to, the leaving out, can be such a powerful and painful experience and is now recognized as bullying and called as such, whereas in the past it really hasn’t gotten that kind of attention."