School bullying is an important concern. Whilst there is growing knowledge about the nature, extent and effects of school bullying, areas of complexity in research findings remain. In this paper we develop our thinking on school bullying using a sociocultural theoretical framework. We review existing literature around three main themes: 1) The conceptualisation and interpretation of bullying; 2) The relational aspects of bullying 3) Bullying as part of someone’s life trajectory. For each theme, empirical findings are discussed to highlight key issues, and arguments presented from relevant sociocultural theories to provide insight in each case. During the paper, we show how varying strands of research into bullying can be integrated, and how areas of complexity can be explained. Adopting a sociocultural view of school bullying presents implications for both research and practice. Bullying is contextual, and attention should be given to the situated relationships and multiple settings surrounding the behaviour.
- peer relationships