"What Kept You So Long?": Bullying's Gray Zone and The Vampire's Transgressive Justice in Let the Right One In

Sage Publications Ltd.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Law, Culture and the Humanities, 2012, 11 (2), pp. 248 - 269
Issue Date:
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School bullying has been recognized only relatively recently by policy-makers, media and the courts as a serious and widespread social problem. But despite this recent notice, there has been no evidence that techniques adopted to stop bullying have led to anything more than modest success, implying that we need to do more work to unpack and theorize the nature of bullying. In this article, we consider a recent vampire narrative as a story about bullying. We offer an interpretation of this story via the theories of Claudia Card and Jacques Derrida, arguing that together this archive provides a more nuanced understanding of the kinds of damage inflicted by bullying than has been provided by realist or sociological accounts. In particular, it illuminates damage to the morality of the victim, to their soul, which is a kind of damage that has previously not been given great attention. It also highlights the ways in which practices of judgment can become very tangled when trying to resolve bullying situations, making these experiences resistant to the achievement of justice.
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