Social conformity as a concept has always fascinated me. I always wanted to know who set the mark to conform to and the history of the "why" behind it. (I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a scholar in this field and I only know what I think I know, if you know what I mean. *grins*) Consider coming out of the closet in Japan - where social conformity is so valued that students who've traveled abroad for long periods often have troubles reintegrating back into Japanese society.
One can be out to friends, in some cases, but my students agree that if a man's company found out he was gay, while he probably wouldn't be fired, he would definitely never be promoted and his co-workers would socially ostracize him.
This is a very frightening thought for Japanese, for whom social inclusion is extremely important. Bullying is considered a big problem in Japanese schools, and the most common form of 'bullying' is one in which most or all of a class ostracizes one child. In America this wouldn't really be considered 'bullying,' but in Japan, students have committed suicide because of it. It's a very big deal. Gay Japanese know that the more out they get, the closer they get to that.
Is social exclusion bullying? Is it wrong for us to say "You must conform to the group or we will exclude you"? Criminals, for example, spring immediately to mind. Are we bullying them for locking them up away from society? Of course, here in America we have the "hostile work environment" that, I believe, covers cases where the employee goes to work and no one will speak to them. Should I have to be friendly and outgoing and socially inviting to the fundie wingnut that might work in the next cubicle or can we just keep a nice quiet peace? And when does that quiet become hostile - when one party feels excluded? (Then again, think of how hard it would be to come out if all of the US was like this. It wasn't that long ago that it would have happened here regularly! And wouldn't a public shunning be meant to demean as versus mutually ignore?) I have many questions, but not a lot of answers unfortunately. What do ya'll think? Is social exclusion bullying?