Coping collectively: the formation of a teacher self-help group

Troman, Geoff (2003). Coping collectively: the formation of a teacher self-help group. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24(2)



Some social movements theorists argue that contemporary social movements such as pressure groups and support groups are increasingly fulfilling the protest function of political parties and trades unions in post-industrial societies. Furthermore, these social, cultural, emotional and economic developments are occurring on a global scale. This article is an ethnographic account of teachers in an English local education authority who formed a self-help group for what they perceived to be 'bullied' (i.e. abused in the workplace) local authority and private sector employees. This was a mode of collective rather than individual coping. The identity work involved in self-renewal for these workers was a collective, social and political process, involving networking with other similar individuals and groups nationally. I argue that, given the decline in trades union powers, the teachers can be considered to be reinventing collectivity and collective protest. And the self-help group studied is not fundamentally different in character to labour movements of the past.

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