University of Oulu

Maija Lanas & Kristiina Brunila (2019) Bad behaviour in school: a discursive approach, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 40:5, 682-695, DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2019.1581052

Bad behaviour in school : a discursive approach

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Author: Lanas, Maija1; Brunila, Kristiina2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Department of Education
2University of Helsinki, Department of Education
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-10-01


Disturbing, problematic, or challenging student behaviour is said to be among the greatest challenges facing today’s school life. However, despite the apparent commonsensical nature of the issue, there is no commonly agreed upon definition for such events, and there is often very thin analysis of what actually becomes disturbed, challenged, or problematised in such instances. In this article, disturbing behaviour is seen as a discursive practice that produces reality; it is a historically and socioculturally formed coming-together of various intersecting power-related discourses that make claims about individuals and contexts. Informed by post-structural approaches, this theoretical article looks at how ideas of disturbing behaviour come to be formed within the discursive environment of school. The article argues that behind the idea of disturbing behaviour are the ideas of a normal developmental course and an idealised student, as well as increasing emphasis on management and measurement in school.

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Series: British journal of sociology of education
ISSN: 0142-5692
ISSN-E: 1465-3346
ISSN-L: 0142-5692
Volume: 40
Issue: 5
Pages: 682 - 695
DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2019.1581052
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
5141 Sociology
Copyright information: © 2019 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British Journal of Sociology of Education on 01 Apr 2019, available online: