The risk of prevalence of violence at Russian schools: sociological analysis
Sizova, Irina L.
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Competent international organizations are greatly concerned with the prevalence of aggressive behavior of children in Russia. This paper addresses the frequency and types of school violence in present day Russia. The study evaluated 14 factors of violence at school, relevance of which is proved by modern research. This sociological study, which is the first large-scale research on the issue in Russia, has confirmed that violence is embedded in the country’s cultural patterns and can be found in all the components of school life. The study has provided evidence that, firstly, violent behavior is prone to change over time and depends on the school’s culture. To what extent a contemporary Russian school may be regarded as a safe place largely depends on the social capital and the origin of the majority of students, as well as the level and quality of social control exercised by intraschool structures, and the interaction involving all the participants of school life. Not least of all, the spread of violence in school is associated with a considerable deterioration in the quality of school teaching and educational capital, a sharp reduction in social contacts and relationships with key persons responsible for the school’s socialization of children (e.g., parents). Secondly, along with other factors, the social capital of the family and the kind of information and communication the children are exposed to determine what forms the aggressive behavior of children takes. It may depend on a high degree of vulnerability of the family and a tough style of family upbringing of children, comprising the use of physical punishment, abuse and inclusion of children in the orbit of the parent/partner conflicts and scandals. It is equally important to protect children from the flow of harmful information and unsafe communications. On the contrary, the violence among students in Russia is depending to a lesser extent on factors, such as the infrastructure of the school, its spatial characteristics, motivation of children to learning and to school attendance, attitudes and internalization of social norms and ideological components, relationships with parents, the experience of tasting forbidden narcotic and psychotropic substances and the existence of negative life experiences.
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