The Social Destruction of Self

Laura Martocci
Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1073-3
Publication: Jan 15

HC: $60.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1072-6
Publication: Jan 15

Ebook: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1074-0
Publication: Jan 15

230 pages
6 x 9

Offering a new understanding of bullying, linking it with insights into the construction of identity


In this video Laura Martocci,discusses her new book, Bullying.

In her forceful social history, Bullying, Laura Martocci explores the “bully culture” that has claimed national attention since the late 1990s.

Moving beyond the identification of aggressive behaviors to an analysis of how and why we have arrived at a culture that thrives on humiliation, she critiques the social forces that gave rise to, and help maintain, bullying. Martocci’s analysis of gossip, laughter, stereotyping, and competition—dynamics that foment bullying and prompt responses of shame, violence, and depression—is positioned within a larger social narrative: the means by which we negotiate damaged social bonds and the role that bystanders play in the possibility of atonement, forgiveness, and redemption.

Martocci’s fresh perspective on bullying positions shame as pivotal. She urges us to acknowledge the pain and confusion caused by social disgrace; to understand its social, psychological, and neurological nature; and to address it through narratives of loss, grief, and redemption—cultural supports that are already in place.

Table of Contents




1 The Cultural-Historical Foundations of Bullying Culture
A Brief Synopsis of Cultural Change
Religion and Shame: The Historical Possibility of Redemption
The Socialization of Children and the Root of Contemporary Shame
Constructing a Social Problem: Bullying and the Double-Edged Sword of the Media

2 Social Forces and Bullying
Stereotypes and Categories

3 Shame and Identity
Shame: The Social Mechanics of a Social Emotion
Shame and Anger
The Psychodynamics of Anger and the Neurodynamics of Pain
Re-visioning Shame: The Strengths and Weaknesses of a New Paradigm

4 Grieving and Grief Work: Negotiating Social Pain and Personal Loss
Traditional Conceptualizations of Grief
New Models of Grieving and Grief Work
Bullying: A Special Case of Loss and the Pitfall of Rumination
Rumination and Depression: Social-Psychological-Neurological
A Final Note

5 Narrative Writing and the Reconstruction of Self
Storying the Brain
Expressive Writing: Integrating the Neural, the Social, and the Psychological
Storying Experiences: Writing Chaos and the Reclamation of Voice Memory
Narrating an Audience and Defining a Victim: The Paradox of Social Stories
A Final Note

6 Tying Up Loose Ends: Challenges to Bystanders, Challenges of Cyberspace
Everyone Else: A Breakdown of Bystander Responsibility
Cyberspace: New Dynamics, New Challenges, New Potentials

Postscript: Practical Suggestions
Appendix A: The Uniqueness of Self and Personal Biography
Appendix B: The Re-visioning of Liberation and Womanist Theologies
Appendix C: Scheff and Retzinger: The Redemptive Role of Communication?
Appendix D: Lyn Lofland’s “Threads of Social Connectedness?
Appendix E: The Dynamics Underlying Expressive Writing: Why Does It Work?
Appendix F: Traumarama!, Seventeen Magazine, and Prepackaged Shame


About the Author(s)

Laura Martocci is a Sociologist and the Founder and Director of the S.A.R.A. Project® (Students Against Relational Aggression). Most recently, she was a faculty member and an Associate Dean at Wagner College.