Academic Bullying: An update

30 Mar

Following my last post on academic bullying, I received quite a few emails from people who said that it all sounded very familiar. They did not want to post a comment on the blog because you have to register to do that. And a few people have mentioned it to me in person at the International Studies Association meeting over the past few days. Very sadly, quite a few of the people who got in touch were PhD students who say that they recognize the pattern already: the insidious use of hierarchy and the dreadful psychological harm that bullying does.
In all the cases where correspondents told me what happened in response to the bullying, the bullied dealt with the problem by moving away from the institution. To confront the bullies was deemed impossible given that they were seen as embedded in the University system. And indeed, looking at some Departments and Institutes across the UK there has been a high turnover of staff. Of course, this is not always an indicator of bullying: staff leave positions for many different reasons. But there are a few notable outliers – Departments and Institutes where positions may be said to be seasonal rather than permanent because of the high turnover among junior staff.
Anyway, that’s the end of the update but let’s keep talking about the problem and calling it what it is.

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3 Responses to “Academic Bullying: An update”

  1. alanbullion 30/03/2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Ironically, one known to me called himself a Marxist! ________________________________

  2. Kielty 30/03/2014 at 11:57 pm #

    Hi Roger – after reading the “…..update” blog, It prompted me to read the initial blog for a second time – this time from a non academic perspective – …could I relate to it from my own profession? And the answer was yes – absolutely. Similar to yourself – I dont feel like I have been a victim – but (powerlessly) witnessed others being victims. The reason for my reply is to help add perspective to your blog, in that, bullying appears to be a basic human instinct and its up to decent people to stand up to it – and not only to show courage, but more importantly, to have the moral compass to know when to show that courage. ……and now for the hard bit – when I look back at my school life – I may have bullied other lads – I put that in a mind box called “it was immaturity on my behalf……”
    Kielty.

    • rogermacginty 07/04/2014 at 10:04 pm #

      Thanks Kielty! I have no doubt it occurs in lots of other professions. And yes, I do shudder to think of my ‘yoof’ and the thoughtless cruelty that we all inflicted on each other.

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