Bullying is a form of abuse. It comprises repeated acts over time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful individual or group abusing those who are less powerful. The power imbalance may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a target.
Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as psychological manipulation. Bullying can be defined in many different ways. Although the UK currently has no legal definition of bullying, some US states have laws against it.
Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse. Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.
Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, church, the workplace, home and neighborhoods. It is even a common push factor in migration. Bullying can exist between social groups, social classes and even between countries (see Jingoism).
Note: I first wrote this on the heels of Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide in September. Here's the big problem with bullying: Most of the folks upstairs are eager to keep pretending it's the 1950′s. The standard advice on how to deal with being bullied runs mainly along the lines of going with it and allowing your tormentors to subject you to whatever abuse they have in store today. I told my babysitter on numerous occasions about the shit I had to take. Typical of the reactions: … more