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New article has theory about bullies

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Men and Masculinities, Vol. 9, No. 1, 53-75 (2006)
DOI: 10.1177/1097184X04271387
© 2006 SAGE Publications

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Right arrow Articles by Klein, J.

Cultural Capital and High School Bullies

How Social Inequality Impacts School Violence

Jessie Klein Adelphi University

This analysis of male peer hierarchies in schools argues that battles for cultural capital are a significant causal factor in the spate of school shootings across the United States between 1996 and 2002. The hallmarks of normalized masculinity—hypermasculine identification, athletics, fighting, distance from homosexuality, dominant relationships with girls, socioeconomic status, and disdain for academics—do not include alternative ways to build cultural capital when young men do not fit into rigid traditional social structures. Lacking such cultural capital, the perpetrators attempted to prove their masculinity through overwhelming violence—responses that in Michel Foucault’s theoretical framework, reinforced the very power structures they seemed to want to destroy. The analysis concludes with positive directions for change including pedagogical strategies.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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