Teasing: Bullying or Playful Fun?

Dacher Keltner over at UC Berkeley recently wrote this interesting piece on teasing for the New York Times magazine. Citing examples of recent attempts to curb teasing in schools and in the workplace, Keltner argues that society is going too far in its opposition to teasing. He points out that teasing behavior is central to many human relationships, especially those of the flirtatious and romantic persuasion, and worries that the crucial distinction between mean-spirited and prosocial teasing is overlooked at our peril.

Some of Keltner’s contentions are likely to be controversial. In particular, he appears to oppose overly strict regulation of bullying in the schools and of sexual harrassment in the workplace. I invite debate on this issue in the comments section, but please be sure to read the article first…

This article also generated some pretty interesting letters to NYT in response. Check them out here.


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