Panel H.04 — Female Bullying at School. The Multidimensionality of Violence Among Adolescent Girls

Convenors Antonia De Vita (University of Verona, Italy); Giuseppe Burgio (Kore University of Enna, Italy); Francesco Vittori (University of Verona, Italy)

Keywords Female Bullying, Adolescence, Intersectionality, Mixed-Method Research, Participatory Approaches.


Reading bullying through a gender perspective is a need that has matured through the recognition of the potential and limits of the literature that interprets phenomena – including male and female bullying – as universal and therefore masculine-neutral. In the last fifty years, women’s and feminist thought have articulated a scientific discourse that enriches the reading of reality in its complexity, shedding light on sexual and partial subjects (Diotima, 1987), on a perspective linked to sexual difference and gender reflection as an essential hermeneutical perspective, as well as on knowledge located and embodied in specific subjects and contexts (Haraway, 1988), arriving at the interesting intersectional perspective that allows us to talk about diversity, since each person is the bearer of several diversities at the same time (Yuval-Davis, 2006).

The motivations, symbolic needs, identification processes, and behaviors of boys and girls are different at the root and it is therefore important to open up both female and male bullying to autonomous interpretations (De Vita & Burgio 2023). Even the relationship between female-male bullying and homophobia, in the double version of gayphobia or lesbophobia, can only emerge from a sexual reading nourished by gender reflection (Burgio 2018; De Vita & Vittori, 2022).

The studies conducted so far in Italy highlight a theoretical and empirical gap capable of defining the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of bullying among girls. The national research “Female bullying at school. An intersectional mixed-method investigation” (coordinated by A. De Vita and G. Burgio) tries – at least partially – to fill this gap. The survey, through a mixed-method approach, sought to deepen the understanding of female bullying from a gender and intersectional perspective by measuring the incidence of the phenomenon in Italy in terms of frequency (Batini et al. forthcoming), implementing data collection involving the school population of the junior years of upper secondary school – as diversified as possible both in terms of type of school and geography: some large (Milan, Genoa, and Palermo) Italian cities, as well as medium-size ones (Verona, Arezzo, Perugia and Foggia). The research involved a multidisciplinary team from six Italian universities: the University of Verona, The Kore University of Enna, the University of Milan-Bicocca, the University of Genoa, the University of Perugia, and The University of Foggia, using “Student Voice” innovative and participatory approaches.

This proposal is therefore aimed at including proposals that explore the following thematic cores from a pedagogical point of view:

➢ Female bullying and peer aggression

➢ Female bullying and gender identity building

➢ Female bullying and homo/lesbian/bi/transphobia

➢ Female bullying and insecurity at school

➢ Female bullying and counter-bullying at school

➢ Female bullying and the role of adults

➢ Female bullying and corporeality

➢ Female bullying between stereotypes and stigmatization

➢ Female bullying and the spatial dimension

➢ Female bullying and cyberbullying

➢ Female bullying and socio-pedagogical research


Guidelines and abstracts submission