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Threats and Violence in School:

Are Teachers Without Legal Rights?

Financed by: Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation 2014-2016

The aim of the project is to study how and to what effect teachers and other school employees mobilize their rights to a safe working environment. The main idea behind the project is to discover how and if legal steering mechanisms promote rights and safety for employees in local school environments.

Using several bases

The theoretical framework combines the sociology of law and the sociology of organizations with research using a psychological perspective of threats and violence at school.

The project is designed to answer four major questions:

1)    How does law matter in school organization;

2)    What is the variation in work environments among schools in different legal and socioeconomic environments;

3)    What is the variation of understandings of legal rights among those employed at different schools; and

4)    What are the strengths/weaknesses in the chain of “naming, blaming and claiming” for injuries or sicknesses resulting from threats or violence.

Surveying and interviewing to gain practical relevance and theory

The method combines longitudinal survey material with in depth case studies of eight schools, analysis of 1200 reports of threats and violence filed with the Swedish Work Environment Agency, and follow-along with environment inspections at selected schools. The project has both theoretical and practical relevance. Theoretically it develops a nexus linking working life literature within psychology with the sociology of law and organizational sociology. Practically it helps inform policy intervention for the improvement of school working environment.

Researchers on the project