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School violence, school differences and school discourses

By Chris Watkins, Melanie Mauthner, Roger Hewitt, Debbie Epstein and Diana Leonard


This article highlights one strand of a study which investigated the concept of the violenceresilient school. In six inner-city secondary schools, data on violent incidents in school and violent crime in the neighbourhood were gathered, and compared with school practices to minimise violence, accessed through interviews. Some degree of association between the patterns of behaviour and school practices was found: schools with a wider range of wellconnected practices seemed to have less difficult behaviour. Interviews also showed that the different schools had different organisational discourses for construing school violence, its possible causes and the possible solutions. Differences in practices are best understood in connection with differences in these discourses. Some of the features of school discourses are outlined, including their range, their core metaphor and their silences. We suggest that organisational discourse is an important concept in explaining school effects and school differences, and that improvement attempts could have clearer regard to this concept

Year: 2007
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