Beyond Bullies and Victims: Using Case Story Analysis and Freirean Insight to Address Academic Mobbing

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Julie Gorlewski
David Gorlewski
Brad Porfilio


Khoo (2010) defines academic mobbing as “a non-violent, sophisticated, ‘ganging up’ behaviour adopted by academicians to ‘wear and tear’ a colleague down emotionally through unjustified accusation, humiliation, general harassment and emotional abuse” (p. 61). Academic mobbing involves the cultivation of norms that reinforce a sense of belonging that is explicitly connected with a concomitant consciousness – and validation – of “othering.” While the behaviors associated with academic mobbing must be identified and addressed, without focusing on the underlying cultural contexts, the problem will not be resolved. Case story analysis offers the potential to examine and ameliorate academic mobbing in ways that complicate the roles of participants and provide a safe means of investigating causal forces without essentializing (or revealing) identities.

This article offers an explanation of case story analysis, particularly as it applies to academic mobbing. The analysis will be coupled with “on the ground” experiences of academic mobbing and conclude with the possibilities of using case story analysis as a means of reculturing, with the ultimate aim of creating workplaces that reflect principles of social justice.

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