Girls and Juvenile Justice

Power, Status, and the Social Construction of Delinquency

  • Carla P. Davis

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Carla P. Davis
    Pages 1-14
  3. Carla P. Davis
    Pages 107-136
  4. Carla P. Davis
    Pages 169-175
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 177-192

About this book


‘In this fascinating study, Davis provides an insightful account of the lived realities of girls in the juvenile justice system. Drawing on a unique mixture of ethnographic observations and interviews, Davis reveals how young women struggle for dignity amidst near-­constant assaults on their humanity and personhood. She also exposes how girls navigate among state, community, and family institutions – and how, in the process, they use and alter dominant ideals of gender and citizenship. By remaining attentive to how social power operates simultaneously through gender, race, and class, Davis provides a model of intersectional analysis. Full of complexity and nuance, Girls and Juvenile Justice is quite an achievement and a must-­read for social scientists across disciplines.’
-Lynne A. Haney, New York University, USA, author of Offending Women

‘In Girls and Juvenile Justice, we hear directly from girls enmeshed in the U.S. juvenile justice system.  Ways that the system criminalizes girls for simply challenging parental authority are clearly documented.  Davis’s important new book shows that the juvenile justice system is still discriminating against girls well into the 21st century.’
-Meda Chesney-Lind, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Author of Girls, Delinquency, and Juvenile Justice

This book offers an ethnographic study of the lives of girls in the juvenile justice system. Based on rich, narrative accounts, the girls at the center of the study are viewed as confronted with the power of simultaneous race, class, and gender hierarchies. Through this framework, we see how the girls navigate this challenge by seeking status in their everyday lives:  in their families; juvenile justice institutions; and neighborhood organizations, including gangs.  Through analyzing the ways that the girls strive for higher social status, this book provokes debate about how policies and programs may be creatively rethought to incorporate this pursuit.  Girls and Juvenile Justice offers a glimpse into the hearts, minds, and souls of adolescent girls.  It will be of great interest for scholars of criminal justice, sociology, women’s studies, and social-psychology.

Carla P. Davis is Associate Professor of Sociology at Beloit College, USA. 


Gender Criminology Criminal Justice Youth Justice Ethnography Race Class Family Offending behaviour Narratives Adolescence Labelling

Authors and affiliations

  • Carla P. Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.Beloit CollegeBeloitUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Law and Criminology
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-42844-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-42845-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site