Date of publication: 2017-08-24 11:38
When I searched "bullying" on YouTube, I found a video titled "Goat bullies are like students who bully". In this rather calm and easygoing world of goats, I found the goat version of "a four-tiered structure" bullying, comprising bullied goats, bullying goats, spectator goats, and onlooker goats.
Furthermore, there is also a similarity between bully tactics and the type of bullies. A bully must achieve popularity among children or good social skills so as to hide bullying from adults or obtain a consensus within the class. Several international surveys on bullying in Japan and Canada, for example, show the fact that most bullies are popular students in a class and their social skills are quite high.
Cultural differences are also considered to affect the reaction of children being bullied: it depends on whether cultural patterns are represented by individualism or collectivism.
Bullying in other cultures such as USA and Germany often takes the form of a pecking-order. In the first place, the English word "bullying" emerged from the image of a bull blustering his way through to force his power. In the US, bullying surveys often involve violence. Likewise, in Germany, typical bullying is considered as physical violence between boys. The word "bully" is also used in the title of the above video on YouTube "Bully chicken redefines pecking order".
On the other hand, in a multi-cultural society like the US, it is easier for a child to interfere and stop bullying when the child witnesses it. In fact, when children were asked the question "If you see someone being bullied, do you intervene to stop it?", the percentage of "yes" responses increased in almost direct proportion to their age.
There are also differences in bullying among countries. Having looked at why such differences occur, it is important to then realize the effects of differences in social structures and cultures. It is considered that such cultural differences reflect the different reaction of children being bullied that is, whether these children are more likely to blame themselves or the bullies. In a society that fosters an extrapunitive personality type, the reaction of bullying victims will be "seeking revenge", while in a society that emphasizes intropunitive behavior, the reaction of victims will be self-denial such as depression, non-attendance at school and suicides.
Previously, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's International Symposium held under the theme of "Cross-Cultural Perspective on Youth and Violence". This symposium aimed to address various types of violence including bullying. I spoke on the topic of Japanese-type bullying while other researchers from the US and Germany discussed bullying in their own countries. Symposium papers were published as one volume of series of studies in sociology in the US (Watts, 6998). Sociologist Meredith Watts, the organizer of the symposium, made an interesting comment on bullying in the above three countries, which I would like to introduce here.
In Japan, one of the basic patterns of bullying is a four-tiered structure while in the US and Germany, bullying is understood as a pecking order hierarchy, where the strong attacks the weak. The term "pecking order" refers to a hierarchy of dominance in animals, especially noticeable in chickens. During feeding time, a dominant chicken will peck on less dominant chickens to drive them away, thereby gaining preferential access to food and establishing a hierarchical order with respect to food. The practice of a pecking order is typically seen in a flock of chickens or a troop of monkeys.