In the Web of Class: Delinquents and Reformers in Boston, 1810s-1930s / Edition 1

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"An analytic overview of the history of social welfare and juvenile justice in Boston..[Schneider] traces cogently the origins, development, and ultimate failure of Protestant and Catholic reformers' efforts to ameliorate working-class poverty and juvenile delinquency."

"Anyone who wants to understand why America's approach to juvenile justice doesn't work should read In the Web of Class."
—Michael B. Katz,University of Pennsylvania

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Editorial Reviews

Chronicles the rise and fall of the cultural reform movement in Boston, which sought to limit welfare costs while supplying the poor with the cultural values the reformers thought were the only real insurance against poverty. Suggest that the movement failed because children--the main target--are not as malleable as thought, and because society cannot be reshaped by reforming individuals. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814779811
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1993
  • Series: American Social Experience Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 0.62 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric C. Schneider is an Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences Iof the University of Pennsylvania, where he also teaches in the American Civilization and Urban Studies programs.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Web of Class 1
Pt. 1 The Creation of Private and Public Charity 15
1 Moral Entrepreneurs and the Invention of the Reformable Child 17
2 Public Welfare and the Public Reformatory 32
Pt. 2 Domestic Reform 51
3 Private Alternatives to the Asylum 53
4 Domestic Reform and the Delinquent Girl 72
5 Domestic Reform and the State Reform School for Boys 91
Pt. 3 The Organization of Welfare 109
6 Catholic Welfare: Between Separatism and Accommodation 111
7 The Charity Network 128
Pt. 4 Expertise and Scientific Reform 145
8 The Juvenile Court: Triumph of Progressivism 148
9 Child Guidance and the Court 170
Conclusion: The Failure of Cultural Reform 189
Notes 193
Index 251
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