Writing case records was central to the professionalization of social work, a task that by its very nature "created clients, authorities, problems, and solutions." In Tales of Wayward Girls and Immoral Women, Karen W. Tice argues that when early social workers wrote about their clients they transformed individual biographies into professional representations. Because the social workers were attuned to the intricacies of language, case records became focal points for debates on science, art, representation, objectivity, realism, and gender in public charity and reform. Tice uses 150 case records of early practitioners from a number of reform organizations and considers myriad books on the specifics of case recording to analyze the competing models of record-keeping, both in the field and outside it. "An original and important study, this is the first major work I know of to carry out a contextual analysis of case records and to discuss the role case records have played in the development of social work." -- Leslie Leighninger, author of Social Work, Social Welfare, and American Society
tales of wayward girls and immoral women
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Social workers produced thousands of case files about the poor during the interwar years. Analyzing almost two thousand such case files and traveling from Boston, Minneapolis, and Portland to London and Melbourne, Miss Cutler and the Case of the Resurrected Horse is a pioneering comparative study that examines how these stories of poverty were narrated and reshaped by ethnic diversity, economic crisis, and war. Probing the similarities and differences in the ways Americans, Australians, and Britons understood and responded to poverty, Mark Peel draws a picture of social work that is based in the sometimes fraught encounters between the poor and their interpreters. He uses dramatization to bring these encounters to life—joining Miss Cutler and that resurrected horse are Miss Lindstrom and the fried potatoes and Mr. O’Neil and the seductive client—and to give these people a voice. Adding new dimensions to the study of charity and social work, this book is essential to understanding and tackling poverty in the twenty-first century.
In Girls in Trouble with the Law, sociologist Laurie Schaffner takes us inside juvenile detention centers and explores the worlds of the young women incarcerated within. Across the nation, girls of color are disproportionately represented in detention facilities, and many report having experienced physical harm and sexual assaults. For girls, the meaning of these and other factors such as the violence they experience remain undertheorized and below the radar of mainstream sociolegal scholarship. When gender is considered as an analytic category, Schaffner shows how gender is often seen through an outmoded lens. Offering a critical assessment of what she describes as a gender-insensitive juvenile legal system, Schaffner makes a compelling argument that current policies do not go far enough to empower disadvantaged girls so that communities can assist them in overcoming the social limitations and gender, sexual, and racial/ethnic discrimination that continue to plague young women growing up in contemporary United States.
Rarely a week goes by when juvenile delinquency or the Young Offenders Act are not discussed in the dominant media. Are we witnessing a moral panic over youth crime or a spate of "child-blaming" driven by the politics of law and order? Sangster traces the history of young women and crime and in so doing punctures dozens of myths surrounding these issues. Girl Trouble uncovers the voices of girls and their families who are caught up in the juvenile justice system, and provides a critical look at the definitions of, and solutions to, female delinquency. The book fills a significant gap in Canadian social and legal history.
In 1925 Mary Breckinridge (1881-1965) founded the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS), a public health organization in eastern Kentucky providing nurses on horseback to reach families who otherwise would not receive health care. Through this public health organization, she introduced nurse-midwifery to the United States and created a highly successful, cost-effective model for rural health care delivery that has been replicated throughout the world. In this first comprehensive biography of the FNS founder, Melanie Beals Goan provides a revealing look at the challenges Breckinridge faced as she sought reform and the contradictions she embodied. Goan explores Breckinridge's perspective on gender roles, her charisma, her sense of obligation to live a life of service, her eccentricity, her religiosity, and her application of professionalized, science-based health care ideas. Highly intelligent and creative, Breckinridge also suffered from depression, was by modern standards racist, and fought progress as she aged--sometimes to the detriment of those she served. Breckinridge optimistically believed that she could change the world by providing health care to women and children. She ultimately changed just one corner of the world, but her experience continues to provide powerful lessons about the possibilities and the limitations of reform.
“It has ever been the boast of the Jewish people, that they support their own poor,” declared Kentucky attorney Benjamin Franklin Jonas in 1856. “Their reasons are partly founded in religious necessity, and partly in that pride of race and character which has supported them through so many ages of trial and vicissitude.” In That Pride of Race and Character, Caroline E. Light examines the American Jewish tradition of benevolence and charity and explores its southern roots. Light provides a critical analysis of benevolence as it was inflected by regional ideals of race and gender, showing how a southern Jewish benevolent empire emerged in response to the combined pressures of post-Civil War devastation and the simultaneous influx of eastern European immigration. In an effort to combat the voices of anti-Semitism and nativism, established Jewish leaders developed a sophisticated and cutting-edge network of charities in the South to ensure that Jews took care of those considered “their own” while also proving themselves to be exemplary white citizens. Drawing from confidential case files and institutional records from various southern Jewish charities, the book relates how southern Jewish leaders and their immigrant clients negotiated the complexities of “fitting in” in a place and time of significant socio-political turbulence. Ultimately, the southern Jewish call to benevolence bore the particular imprint of the region’s racial mores and left behind a rich legacy.
One of Canada’s first social workers, Jane B. Wisdom had an active career in social welfare that spanned almost the first half of the twentieth century. Competent, thoughtful, and trusted, she had a knack for being in important places at pivotal moments. Wisdom’s transnational career took her from Saint John to Montreal, New York City, Halifax, and Glace Bay, as well as into almost every field of social work. Her story offers a remarkable opportunity to uncover what life was like for front-line social workers in the profession’s early years. In Wisdom, Justice, and Charity, historian Suzanne Morton uses Wisdom’s professional life to explore how the welfare state was built from the ground up by thousands of pragmatic and action-oriented social workers. Wisdom’s career illustrates the impact of professionalization, gender, and changing notions of the state – not just on those in the emergent profession of social work but also on those in need. Her life and career stand as a potent allegory for the limits and possibilities of individual action.