Research Expanding Current Understandings of Bullying in Sweden

  • Ann Christin Cederborg
  • Kim Ringmar Sylwander
  • Karen Ann Blom


This paper discusses the on-going research on the phenomenon of bullying in the Department of Child andYouth Studies at Stockholm University. The paper describes the reasons, and how to contribute with anunderstanding of bullying as a social group phenomenon, and specifically focuses on inductive ethnographicand cyberethnographic approaches toward peer-to-peer interactions in schools, preschools and on theInternet. The understanding of this phenomenon is based on a Swedish interdisciplinary approach whichincludes children’s perspectives. The objective is to explore bullying as a complex social group phenomenonwhich allows for a focus on the process of bullying, thus creating an opportunity for the enhancement of theunderstanding of inter- and intra-connected actions and perspectives. This article is intended to contribute toa discussion on a broadening of the conceptualization of the phenomenon of bullying.


Bamberg, M., & Georgakopoulou, A. (2008). Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk, 28(3), 377-396. doi: 10.1515/TEXT.2008.018

Beckman, L. (2013). Traditional Bullying and Cyberbullying among Swedish Adolescents: Gender differences and associations with mental health. (Doctoral Dissertation). Karlstad University: Karlstad.

Beran, T. & Li, Q. (2005). Cyber Harassment: A study of new methods for an old behaviour. Educational Computing Research, 32(3), 265-277. doi: 10.2190/8YQM-B04H-PG4D-BLLH

Berg, M. (2012). Struggling in Silence. In the BRIS Report 2012. Theme Mental Health. No. 1/2012. (pp.16-18) Retrieved from

Bernard, H. R. (2006). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Lanham: Alta Mira Press.

Berne, S. (2014). Cyberbullying in Childhood & Adolescence: Assessment, Coping and the Role of Appearance. (Doctoral Dissertation within Psychology). University of Gothenburg: Gothernburg.

Berne, S., Frisén, A., Schultze-Krumbholz, A., Scheithauer, H., Naruskov, K., Luik, P., Katzer, C., Erentaite, R., & Zukauskiene, R. (2013). Cyberbullying assessment instruments: A systematic review. Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 18 (2013), 320-334. doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2012.11.022

Besag, V. E. (1989). Bullies and victims in schools: A guide to understanding and management. Buckingham, UK, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Björk, G. (1995). Mobbning–ett spel om makt (Bullying-a matter of power). Göteborg: Göteborgs Universitet, Institutionen för social arbete.

BRIS (2012). BRIS rapporten 2012 Tema Psykisk ohäsa. (Theme Mental Health) No. 1/2012. Retrieved from

Brå (2013). Brott bland ungdomar i årskurs nio: resultat från Skolundersökningen om brott åren 1995-2011 (Crime among young people in grade nine: results from the National Survey of violations years) (Report nr. 2013:3). Stockholm: Brottsförebyggande rådet (Brå).

Canty, J., Stubbe, M., Steers, D., & Collings, S. (2014). The Trouble with Bullying-Deconstructing the Conventional Definition of Bullying for a Child-centred Investigation into Children’s Use of Social Media. Children & Society (2014), 1-11. doi: 10.1111/chso.12103

Carlerby, H., Viitasara, E., Knutsson, A., & Gådin, K.G. (2013). How Bullying Involvement is Associated with the Distribution of Parental Background and with Subjective Health Complaints Among Swedish Boys and Girls. Social Indicators Research, 111(3), 775-783. doi: 10.1007/s11205-012-0033-9

Casas, J.A., Del Rey, R., & Ortega-Ruiz, R. (2013). Bullying and cyberbullying: Convergent and divergent predictor. Computers in Human Behaviour, 29(3), 580-587. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.11.015

Cassidy, W., Faucher, C., & Jackson, M. (2013). Cyberbullying among youth: A comprehensive review of current international research and its implications and application to policy and practice. School Psychology International, 34 (6), 575. doi: 10.1177/0143034313479697

Cederborg, A-C. (2010). Att intervjua barn- vägledning för socialsekreterare (Interviewing children- guidance for Social Workers). Stockholm; Stiftelsen Allmänna Barnhuset.

Cederborg, A-C. (2014). Kränkningar och trakasserier i skolan (Violations and harassments in schools). In A-C, Cederborg & W. Warnling-Nerep, W. (ed.). Barnrätt. (Children’s Rights) (pp. 113-125). Hansa Print Oy, Finland: Nordstedts Juridik..

Chapman, E., & Smith, J.A. (2002). Interpretative phenomenological analysis and the new genetics. Journal of Health Psychology, 7(2), 125-130. doi: 10.1177/1359105302007002397

Clark, C. D. (2011). In a younger voice: Doing child-centered qualitative research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clifford, J. (1997). Spatial practices: Fieldwork, travel, and the disciplining of anthropology. In A. Gupta & J. Ferguson (eds.), Anthropological locations: Boundaries and grounds of a field science (pp. 185–222). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Corsaro, W. A. (2011). The sociology of childhood. Third edition. Los Angeles: Sage.

Crick, N., Casas, J., & Mosher, M. (1997). Relational and Overt Aggression in Preschool. Developmental Psychology, 33(4), 579-588. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.33.4.579

Cross, D.S., & Barnes, A. (2014). One size doesn’t fit all: Rethinking implementation research for bullying prevention. In Schott, R.M. & Søndergaard, D.M. (Eds.), School Bullying: New Theories in Context (pp. 405-419). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Danby, S., & Osvaldsson, K. (2011). Bullying: The social and moral orders at play. Children & Society, 25(4), 255–257. doi: 10.1111/j.1099-0860.2011.00381.x

Danby, S., Butler, C. W., & Emmison, M. (2011). ‘Have you talked with a teacher yet?’: How helpline counsellors support young callers being bullied at school. Children & Society, 25(4), 328–339. doi: 10.1111/j.1099-0860.2011.00379

Dean, S. G., Smith, J. A., Payne, S., & Weinman, J. (2005). Managing time: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of patients’ and physiotherapists’ perceptions of adherence to therapeutic exercise for low back pain. Disability and Rehabilitation, 27(11), 625–636. doi: 10.1080/0963820500030449

Delamont, S. (2007). Ethnography and participant observation. In C. Seale, G. Gobo, J. F., & Silverman, D, (Eds.), Qualitative research practice (pp. 217–230). London: Sage.

Dunkels. E. (2012). Vad gör unga på nätet?( What are young children doing on the Internet), 2nd ed. Poland: Gleerups.

Duranti, A. (1997). Linguistic anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Edwards, D. & Potter, J. (1992). Discursive psychology. London: Sage.

Elliot, M., & Kilpatrick, J. (1994). How to stop bullying: A KIDSCAPE guide to training. Kidscape, London.

Ellison, N.B., Steinfeld, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends”: Social Capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 12, 1143-1168. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00367.x

Elsea, M., & Smith, P. (1998). The long-term effectiveness of anti-bullying work in primary schools. Educational Research. 40(2), 203-218. doi:10.1080/0013188980400208

Emerson, R. M. Fretz, R. I., & Shaw, L. (2011). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. Second edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Evaldsson, A-C. (1993). Play Disputes and Social Order Everyday Life in Two Swedish After-School Centers. (Doctoral Dissertation) Linköping: Linköping University.

Evaldsson, A-C. (2005). Staging insults and mobilizing categorizations in a multiethnic peer group. Discourse Society, 16(6), 763-786. doi: 10.1177/0957926505056663

Evaldsson, A-C., & Svahn, J. (2012). School bullying and the micro-politics of girls’ gossip disputes. In S. Danby and M. Theobald (Eds.), Disputes in everyday life: Social and moral orders of children and young people. New York: Emerald.

Evaldsson, A-C., & Tellgren, B. (2009). Don’t enter – it’s dangerous: Negotiating for power and exclusion in preschool girls’ play interaction. Educational and Child Psychology 26(2), 9-18.

Fairley, R. L. (1999). Does a relationship exist between social perception, social intelligence and empathy for students with a tendency to be a bully, a victim or bully/victim. (Honours thesis). University of Adelaide: Adelaide.

Fors, Z. (1993). Obalans i makt. Fallstudier av mobbning (Imbalance of power. Case studies of bullying). Göteborg. Göteborgs Universitet, Institutionen för psykologi.

Freeman, M. (2011). Stories, big and small: Toward a synthesis. Theory & Psychology, 21(1), 114-121. doi: 10.177/0959354309354394

Friends (2014). Friends Nätrapport -en undersökning om barn och ungas erfarenhet av kränkningar via mobil, dator och surfplatta (An investigation of children’s and youth’s experiences of harassement through mobilephones, computers and Ipads). Retrieved from

Friends (2015). Friendsrapporten 2015. (Friends’ report on bullying in schools 2015). Retrieved from

Frånberg, & Wrethander. (2011). Mobbning – en social konstruktion? (Bullying- a social construction?). Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Georgakopulou, A. (2006). Thinking big with small stories in narrative analysis and identity analysis. Narrative Inquiry, 16(1), 122-130. doi: 10.1075/ni.16.1.16

Gillies-Rezo, S. & Bosachki, S. (2003). Invisible Bruises: Kindergartners’ perceptions of bullying. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 8(2), 163-177. doi:10.1080/13644360304628

Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Goodwin, M.H. (1990). He – Said – She – Said: Talk as Social organisation among Black Children. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Goodwin, M. H. (2002). Exclusion in girls’ peer groups: Ethnographic analysis of language practices in the playground. Human Development, 45(6), 392-415. doi:10.1159/000066260

Goodwin, M.H. (2006). The Hidden Life of Girls: Games of Stance, Status, and Exclusion. Oxford: Blackwell. Grimshaw, Allen, Ed.

Goodwin, M.H. (2008). The embodiment of friendship, power and marginalization in a multi-ethnic, multi-class preadolescent U.S. Girls’ Peer Group. Girlhood Studies 1(2), 72-94. doi: 10.3167/ghs.2008.010205

Granström, K. (2007). Olika förklaringar till mobbning (Various explanations for bullying). In C. Thor (Ed.), Utstött - en bok om mobbning (Excluded-a book about bullying) (pp. 47-56). Stockholm: Lärarförbundet.

Guise, J., Widdicombe, S., & McKinlay, A. (2007). ‘What is it like to have ME?’: The discursive construction of ME in computer-mediated communication and face-to-face interaction. Health (London), 11(1), 87-108. doi: 10.1177/1363459307070806

Görzig, A. (2011) Who bullies and who is bullied online?: a study of 9-16 year old internet users in 25 European countries. London: EU Kids Online network, London School of Economics.

Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (2007). Ethnography: Principles in practice. London: Routledge.

Heath, C. Hindmarsh, J. & Luff, P. (2010). Video in qualitative research: Analysing social interaction in everyday life. London: Sage.

Heinemann, P.P. (1972). Mobbning: gruppvåld bland barn och vuxna (Bullying: Group violence amongst children and adults). Stockholm: Natur och Konst.

Heritage, J., & Stivers, T. (1999). Online commentary in acute medical visits. A method of shaping patient expectations. Social Science & Medicine, 49(11), 1501–1517. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(99)00219-1

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J.W. (2008). Cyberbullying: An Exploratory Analysis of Factors Related to Offending and Victimization. Deviant Behaviour. 29(2), 129-156. doi: 10.1080/01639620701457816

Katzer, C., Fetchenhauer, D., & Belschak, F. (2009). Cyberbullying: Who are the victims? A comparison of victimization in Internet chatrooms and victimization in school. Journal of Media Psychology, 21(1), 25-36. doi: 10.1027/1864-1105.21.1.25

Kirves, L., & Sajaniemi, N. (2012). Bullying in early childhood settings. Early Child Development and Care, 182(3-4), 383-400. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2011.646724

Kozinets, R.V. (2013). Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online. London: Sage Publications.

Kwan, G.C.E., & Skoric, M.M. (2013). Facebook bullying: An Extension of battles in school. Computers in Human Behaviour, 29 (1), 16-25. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.07.014

Kyratzis, A. (2004). Talk and Interaction Among Children and the Co-Construction of Peer Groups and Peer Culture. Annual Review Anthropology 33, 625-49. doi: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.33.070203.144008

Law, D., Shapka, J., Hymel, S., Olson, B., & Waterhouse, T. (2012). Are cyberbullies really bullies? An investigation of reactive and proactive online aggression. Computers in Human Behaviour, 28 (2), 664-672. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.11.013

Levine, P., & Scollon, R. (Eds.). (2004). Discourse & Technology: Multimodal Discourse Analysis. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Limber, S. (2002). Proceedings of the American Medical Association Educational Forum and Adolescent Health; Youth Bullying, 2. Addressing youth bullying behaviours. Chicago: American Medical Association.

Lipman, E. (2003). Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking bullying is not important. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48(9), 575-577. doi: 10.1080/07351690.2013.764704

Livingstone, S. (2014). Developing social media literacy: How children learn to interpret risky opportunities on social network sites. Communications, 39(3), 283-303. doi: 10.1515/commun-2014-0113

Låftman, S.B., Modin, B. & Östberg, V. (2013). Cyberbullying and subjective health: A large-scale study of students in Stockholm, Sweden. Children and youth Services Review,35(1), 112-119. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.10.020

Markham, A.N., & Baym, N.K. (Eds.). (2009). Internet inquiry: conversations about method. United States of America: Sage Publications.

Marcum, C.D., Higgins, G.E., Freiburger, T.L., & Ricketts, M.L. (2014). Exploration of Cyberbullying Victim/offender Overlap by Sex. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(3), 538-548. doi: 10.1007/s12103-013-9217-3

Mishna F., Khoury-Kassabri, M., Gadalla, T., & Daciuk J. (2012). Risk factors for involvement in cyber bullying: Victims, bullies and bully-victims. Children and Youth Services Review 34(1), 63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.08.032

Murthy, D. (2008). Digital Ethnography: An Examination of the Use of New Technologies for Social Research. Sociology, 42(5), 837–55. DOI: 10.1177/0038038508094565

Ochs, E., Graesch, A.P., Mittmann, A., Bradbury, T., & Repetti, R. (2006). Video ethnography and ethnoarchaeological tracking. In M. Pitt-Catsoupes, E. E. Kossek and S. Sweet (Eds.) The work and family handbook: Multi-disciplinary perspectives methods and approaches (pp. 387–409). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Olweus, D. (1973). Personality and Aggression. In J.K. Cole & D.D. Jensen (Eds). Nebraska Symposium on motivation 1972. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press.

Olweus, D. (1978). Aggression in the schools: Bullies and whipping boys. Washington, D.C.: Hemisphere (Wiley).

Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying in schools. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Pepler, D. J., & Craig, W. M. (1995). A peek behind the fence: Naturalistic observations of aggressive children with remote audiovisual recording. Developmental Psychology 31(4), 548-553. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.31.4.548

Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., Connolly, J. A. Yuile, A. McMaster, L., & Jiang, D. (2006). A developmental perspective on bullying. Aggressive behavior, 32(4), 376-384. doi: 10.1002/ab

Potter, J. (1996). Representing Reality: Discourse, Rhetoric and Social Construction. London: Sage Publications.

Prout, A., & James, A. (1990). A new paradigm for the sociology of childhood? Provenance, promise and problems. In A. James and A. Prout (Eds.),. Constructing and reconstructing childhood: Contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood (7-34). London: Falmer.

Rigby, K., & Slee, P. (1993). Children’s attitudes towards victims. In D. Tattum (Ed.) Understanding and managing bullying. Oxford: Heinemann.

Salmivalli, C., Lagerspetz, K.M., Björkqvist, K. Österman, K., & Kaukiainen, A. (1996). Bullying as a group process. Participant Roles and their relations to social status within the group. Aggressive Behaviour, 22(1), 1-15. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2337(1996)22:1<1::AID-AB1>3.0.CO;2-T

Salmivalli, C., Kaukiainen, A., Voeten, M., & Sinisammal, M. (2004). Targeting the group as a whole: the Finnish anti-bullying intervention. In Smith, P.K., Pepler, D. & Rigby, K. (Eds.), Bullying in Schools: How Succesful Can Interventions Be? (pp. 251-274). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schott, R.M. (2014). The social concept of bullying: philosophical reflections on definitions. In Schott, R.M. & Søndergaard, D.M. (Eds.), School Bullying: New Theories in Context (pp. 21-47). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Schott, R.M., & Søndergaard, D.M. (Eds.). (2014). School Bullying: New Theories in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SFS 2010:800. Skollag (Education Act). Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartmentet.

SFS 2006:67. Lag om förbud mot diskriminering och annan kränkande behandling av barn och elever. Stockholm: Utbildningsdepartementet.

Skolverket (The National Agency for Education)(2009a). På Tal om mobbning – och det som görs (Speaking of bullying - and what is done). Stockholm: Skolverket.

Skolverket (The National Agency for Education)(2009b). Diskriminerad, trakasserad, kränkt? (Discriminated against, harassed, insulted?). Stockholm: Skolverket.

Skolverket (The National Agency for Education)(2009c). Allmänna råd och kommentarer - vad man vet och vad man kan göra (General advice and comments - what you know and what you can do). Stockholm: Skolverket.

Skolverket (The National Agency for Education) (2011a). Vad fungerar: Om skolors arbete mot mobbning och kränkande behandling (What is working. About the schools' work against bullying and abusive treatment). Stockholm: Fritzies

Skolverket (The National Agency for Education) (2011b). Utvärdering av metoder mot mobbning (Evaluation of methods to combat bullying). Rapport 353. Proposition (1992/93:220). Stockholm: Skolverket.

Slonje, R., & Smith, P.K. (2008). Cyberbullying: Another main type of bullying? Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 49(2), 147-154. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2007.00611.x

Slonje, R., Smith, P.K., & Frisén, A. (2013). The nature of cyberbullying and strategies of prevention. Computers in Human Behaviour, 29(1), 26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.05.024

Smith, J. A. (1997). Developing theory from case studies: Self reconstruction and the transition to motherhood. In N. Hayes (Ed.) Doing qualitative analysis in psychology (pp.187–200). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Smith, P. K., & Sharp, S. (Eds.) (1994). School bullying: Insights and perspectives. London: Routledge.

Smith, P. K., & Thompson, D. (Eds.) (1991). Practical approaches to bullying. London: David Fulton.

Staksrud, E., Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., & Ólafsson, K. (2009) What do we know about children’s use of online technologies?: a report on data availability and research gaps in Europe [2nd edition]. London: Kids Online Network, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Staksrud, E., Ólafsson, K., & Livingstone, S. (2013). Does the use of social networking sites increase children’s risk of harm? Computers in Human Behaviour 29(1), 40-50. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.05.026

Statens Medieråd (National Media Council) (2013). Ungar & medier (Kids & Media) 2012/13: Fakta om barns och ungas använding och upplevelser av medier (Facts on children and youth’s use and perceptions of media). Statens Medieråd. Retrieved from

Svahn, J. (2012). The everyday practice of school bullying. Children’s participation in peer group activities and school-based anti-bullying practices. (Doctoral Dissertation) Uppsala: Uppsala University.

Swedish Institute. (June 2012). Children and young people: Growing up in Sweden. Accessed at:

Søndergaard, D. M. (2012). Bullying and social exclusion anxiety in schools. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 33(3), 355-372. doi: 10.1080/01425692.2012.662824

Tattum, D. P., & Lane, D. A. (eds.) (1989). Bullying in schools. London: Trentham Books.

Terry, A. A. (1998). Teachers as targets of bullying by their pupils: A study to investigate incidence. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 68(2), 255-268. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.1998.tb01288.x

The United Nations. (2006). World Report on Violence against Children: The Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children. , the United Nations. New York. New York: Pinheiro, P.S. SBN 10 92-95057-51-1

Vandenbosch, H. & Van Cleemput, K. (2008). Defining Cyberbullying: A Qualitative Research into the Perceptions of Youngsters. Cyber Psychology & Behaviour, 11(4), 499-503. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0042

Von Tetzchner, S. (2005). Utvecklingspsykologi: Barn och Ungdomsåren (Developmental psychology: Children and Youth). Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Willig, C. (2006). Introducing qualitative research in psychology. Adventures in theory and method. New York: Open University Press.

Wolke, D., Copeland, W.E., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2013). Impact of Bullying in Childhood on Adult Health, Wealth, Crime, and Social Outcomes. Psychological Science 2013, 24 (10), 1958-1970. doi: 10.1177/0956797613481608

Cómo citar
Cederborg, A., Ringmar Sylwander, K., & Blom, K. (2015). Research Expanding Current Understandings of Bullying in Sweden. Pensamiento Psicológico, 14(1). Recuperado a partir de
Artículos de reflexión