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'Man up!’ Bullying and resilience within a neoliberal framework

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The current paper explores perceptions in relation to bullying, with a particular focus on discussions around resilience, drawing on data from focus group interviews with young people (mean age 14 years old), parents and teachers. We regard self-conduct and the governance of human behaviour as situated within a neoliberal framework, locating accountability and responsibility within the individual. Our methodological framework consists of a multi-level ‘synthesized’ discourse analysis. Firstly, drawing on discursive psychology, we focus on the interactive accomplishments of talk, such as managing facts, blame and accountability. The second level of discourse analysis focuses on the wider discourses that participants draw on to make sense of themselves, including common sense discourses and ideologies. In their narratives, the participants constructed resilience in relation to bullying in terms of individual empowerment, responsibility and ‘manning up’; a skill that can be taught and acquired. Not only that, long-term implications of bullying were negated in favour of a neoliberal approach towards self-responsibility in the here and now. This has implications for strategies in supporting young people in building resilience. More research is needed to establish key notions in relation to resilience, and the multidimensionality of protective factors in relation to bullying.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1382-1400
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number10
Early online date21 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Man up postprint

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Youth Studies on 21/04/2016, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 761 KB, PDF document

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