In the Web of Class



My first book, In the Web of Class: Delinquents and Reformers in Boston, 1810s-1930s (New York University Press, 1992), traces the evolution of a juvenile justice "system" out of competing public and private, Protestant and Catholic, voluntary and coercive institutions. The establishment of the juvenile court represented the triumph of nineteenth-century child saving and unified these agencies into a more coherent whole. I argue that social welfare institutions formed a 'web of class' that shaped the experience of growing up working class in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Throughout the book, I compare the experiences of male and female delinquents, and I emphasize the agency of working-class adolescents and their families as they cooperated with, resisted, and reshaped the agencies' programs.