Workplace violence, schools and hospitals

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2007
Thesis identifier
  • T11849
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This thesis is a sociological exploration of violence at work. It is concerned with examining doctors, nurses' and teachers' experiences of violence at work in the institutional setting of schools and hospitals. It argues that media representations of this phenomenon, while having been helpful in raising awareness of violent incidents towards staff as mainly inter-personal and neglecting the institutional context of violence, have been unhelpful in extending knowledge and understanding. Thus it is argued that there are significant gaps in understanding of the nature and extent of violence in these contexts. The thesis aims to extend the current theoretical and empirical understanding of violence at work through the perceptions and experiences of these institutional actors and to examine how the institutional setting - physically and structurally - affects them in their professional roles in public sector schools and hospitals. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered from two local authority areas in west central Scotland. Bourdieu's concepts of field, habitus and capital are used to examine the complex inter-relations of institutions, institutionalism and professional/client interactions that create a particular set of conditions which are challenged through the use of violence. 'Fields' represent the political and organisational structure of public sector health and education services whilst the 'habitus' forms the site of delivery for these services and the particular institutional cultural dispositions associated with them. The concept of 'capital' is used to examine the inter-personnel relationships, and the inter-personal relationships between client groups, in the work habitus. It concludes that the need for an integrated approach to understanding violence in the context of institutions is crucial if effective interventions are to be made and appropriate policies developed.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2007
Former identifier
  • 759637