Does One Size Matter?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Shila KHAYAMBASHI, York University, Canada
For the past few decades, Western bullying researchers defined bullying pragmatically based on three distinct characteristics, which includes the asymmetrical power relation, the intention of inflicting undesirable actions, and the repetition and continuity in the occurrence of the adverse actions (Olweus, 2003). Dan Olweus (1993) first introduced these features in response to three cases of suicides among Norwegian young boys (Kallestad, 2012). His sample selection was homogenously selected based on convenience and availability of Caucasian youth (Statistics Norwey, 2016). However, this homogeneity did not stop bullying researchers from using Olweus’s results as their theoretical background. Based on the current researches, laws and regulations are introduced to prevent and control bullying among diverse youth population (Kandel, 1978; Byrne, Ervin & Lamberth, 1970). With popularity of multicultural ideology, the majority of bullying research participants remain to be from the dominant culture (Omidvar, Richmond & Laidlaw Foundation, 2003). The homogeneity of the participants results in biased outcome, which fails to represent the ethnically diverse Canadian populations. Based on an ongoing research, which I began in India, the results revealed that cultural relativity of the bullying phenomenon renders the field inaccessible for all ethnic groups. Through my three-month long research in India, I revisited a fundamental question: Does one size fits all? I explored how one can relate a fatally violent phenomenon to a population whose language has no word or a different term to describe the phenomenon. My research in India demonstrated the unfamiliarity of the Indian youths with the Western concept of bullying. Yet, my research confirmed the Indian youths have a culturally specific concept with characteristics which are fundamentally different from the globally recognized bullying characteristic.