School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender

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Overview

Drawing on one of the most comprehensive and representative studies of school violence ever conducted, Benbenishty and Astor explore and differentiate the many manifestations of victimization in schools, providing a new model for understanding school violence in context. The authors make striking use of the geopolitical climate of the Middle East to model school violence in terms of its context within as well as outside of the school site. This pioneering new work is unique in that it uses empirical data to show which variables and factors are similar across different cultures and which variables appear unique to different cultures. This empirical contrast of universal with culturally specific patterns is sorely needed in the school violence literature. The authors' innovative research maps the contours of verbal, social, physical, and sexual victimization and weapons possession, as well as staff-initiated violence against students, presenting some startling findings along the way. When comparing schools in Israel with schools in California, the authors demonstrate for the first time that for most violent events the patterns of violent behaviors have the same relationship for different age groups, genders, and nations. Conversely, they highlight specific kinds of violence that are strongly influenced by culture. They reveal, for example, how Arab boys encounter much more boy-to-boy sexual harassment than their Jewish peers, and that teacher-initiated victimization of students constitutes a significant and often overlooked type of school violence, especially among certain cultural groups. Crucially, the authors expand the paradigm of understanding school violence to encompass the intersection of cultural, ethnic, neighborhood, and family characteristics with intra-school factors such as teacher-student dynamics, anti-violence policies, student participation, grade level, and religious and gender divisions. It is only by understanding the multiple contexts of school violence, they argue, that truly effective prevention programs, interventions, research agendas, and policies can be implemented. In an age of heightened concern over school security, this study has enormous implications for school violence theory, research, and policy throughout the world. The patterns that emerge from the authors' analysis form a blueprint for the research agenda needed to address new and exciting theoretical and practical questions regarding the intersections of context and school victimization. The unique perspective on school violence will undoubtedly strike a chord with all readers, informing scholars and students across the fields of social work, psychology, education, sociology, public health, and peace/conflict studies. Its clearly written and accessible style will appeal to teachers, principals, policy makers and parents interested in the authors' practical discussion of policy and intervention implications, making this an invaluable tool for understanding, preventing, and handling violence in schools throughout the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A significant advance in the area of school violence."—PsyCRITIQUES

"Provides relevant information for a wide audience, including researchers, policy makers, practitioners, educators, and families."—Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy

"Benbenishty and Astor have done a marvelous job in introducing the reality of school violence in Israeli schools and the contextual factors associated with students violence victimization using nationally representative data. Despite the complicated statistical procedures they have used, the results are presented without technical jargon, which makes this book useful and attractive not only for researchers but also for policy makers and practitioners who care about the safety of our students. This book is a fine example of how a comparative study of school violence using quantitative methods should be carried out, and more studies of this kind are strongly needed to enhance our understanding of school violence around the world."—American Journal of Education

"Benbenishty and Astor make an extremely important and specific contribution to the school violence literature by demonstrating the importance and complexity of school contextual effects. Perhaps the larger contributions of this book, however, are more general.[The authors] provide a blueprint of how to operationalize and execute a complex, ecologically-derived program of research. Their data and analyses allowed for full descriptions of the heterogeneity of victimization experiences within persons, while at the same time capturing the broader influence of within and between school contextual processes."—Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195157802
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/10/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

School Victimization Embedded in Context
Context and Methods
Victimization Types
Patterns of Victimization
Sexual Harassment
Weapons in School
Student Victimization from Staff Violence
The Influence of Within-School Context Factors and Victimization
Differences in Victimization between Schools
Schools Embedded in Larger Contexts
One School, Multiple Perspectives on School Safety
Schools at the Center of the Theoretical Model
Appendix 1: Research Instruments
Appendix 2: Details of the Structural Equation Analyses

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