Storytelling as a Liminal Space: Using a Narrative Based Participatory Approach to Tackle Cyberbullying Among Adolescents

  • Irene WhiteEmail author
  • Mairéad Foody
  • James O’Higgins Norman


Cyberbullying in the adolescent years can have a devastating impact on mental health and the social and emotional development of teens. Responses to the issue have been widespread. While many whole school programmes include elements such as role modelling, few interventions appear to use a participatory approach with adolescents. This chapter considers the use of narrative based participatory approaches that capture and utilise the student voice. It is suggested that these approaches be added as creative, complementary components of whole school anti-bullying programmes. Drawing on Turner’s concept of liminality and Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed model, we propose a creative process that places the adolescent voice at the centre of anti-bullying initiatives and advocate for a return to the development of more bottom-up approaches to school-based interventions. In line with United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Articles 12 and 13, we suggest that adopting a participatory approach that invites and supports adolescents to tell their own stories is an opportunity for schools to give voice to students and to consult them in making decisions about themselves. The practice of drawing on students’ own stories and personal accounts can have a cathartic and empowering effect on participants. We contend that such an approach may provide more powerful points of entry to discussions on cyberbullying, and ultimately a more transformative experience for participants, than that offered by approaches that preclude the student voice or by participatory approaches that require less creative input and less social and emotional investment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene White
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mairéad Foody
    • 1
  • James O’Higgins Norman
    • 1
  1. 1.National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, Dublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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