Relational Aggression As a Form of Sociability Among Girls

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Jamile GUIMARAES, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Cristiane CABRAL, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Neia SCHOR, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
This study analyzes conflicting relationships as a form of sociability that occurs in a game of differences and oppositions. An ethnographic study was conducted on two public schools with 11-15 year-old girls. The methodological techniques used were, participant observation, informal conversations, and in-depth interviews. In groups of girls conflicts are motivated by competition, group regulation and friendship protection. According to the interviewees, falsehood is a common feature, and based on this perception, they develop close, but fragile, relationships, which in turn tend to magnify the potential for conflict, which leads to long-term intimidation and aggression patterns. This is how the group exerts collective authority, and sets boundaries and discipline, what is, or isn't, acceptable in terms of personal exposure and moral conduct. Practices of exclusion, isolation and depreciation are a form of social interaction in which peer alignment and social hierarchy positions are negotiated. Relational aggression emerges as a practice and speech of control, surveillance and punishment of behavior that deviates from gender standards. Aggression (physical, verbal or psychological) integrates the process of negotiation and assertion of identity, and stands as a resource for social ascension or the expansion of its influence over its peers. In popularity disputes, rumors and gossip expose deprecated forms of femininity, but also engender excitement and entertainment in an environment marked by rigid rules of coexistence and behavior.