Adolescents' views on the power of violence in a rural school in South Africa

19 Jun 2015

This study aims to explain how adolescents in a rural high school conceptualise school violence. Qualitative data were collected over two two-day periods (24 hours) through child-centred tasks like drawing and the completion of open-ended sentences, informal conversations regarding the given activities, observations documented as visual data (photographs), a research journal, and focus group discussions. In total, four boys and five girls participated in the study. Results of the study indicate that the adolescents (aged 15–17 years) view school violence both as negative, in that it causes harm, and positive, in that it serves as a strategy to ensure order and protection. The adolescents conceptualise violence as interweaving constructs of power, discipline and aggression. Future adolescent-focused interventions regarding violence must include conversations about these nuanced understandings.