Defining Deviance analyzes how reformers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries perceived delinquent girls and their often troubled lives. Drawing on exclusive access to thousands of case files and other documents at the State Training School in Geneva, Illinois, Michael A. Rembis uses Illinois as a case study to show how implementation of involuntary commitment laws in the United States reflected eugenic thinking about juvenile delinquency. Much more than an institutional history, Defining Deviance examines the cases of vulnerable young women to reveal the centrality of sex, class, gender, and disability in the formation of scientific and social reform. Rembis recounts the contestations between largely working-class teenage girls and the mostly female reformers and professionals who attempted to diagnose and treat them based on changing ideas of eugenics, gender, and impairment.
Publisher: University of Illinois Press