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"Mauvaises filles" Portraits de la déviance féminine juvénile (1945-1958)

Abstract : This study focuses on the specific features of feminine juvenile delinquency in the immediate post war period. It is situated at the crossroads of the history of Justice, Youth and Gender. Based on judiciary archives -- the individual files from the Seine Juvenile Court and from the « Observation center » of Chevilly-Larue (both located near or in Paris) – it analyses the experts' words and the girls' own voices, while endeavouring to locate them in the social and family contexts of the working classes in the decade following the Liberation of Paris. These elements pinpoint the central position of gender norms in the 50s: a “bad girl” is not the female version of a “bad boy”. Portraits of girls and their trajectories illustrate this statement. From this detailed study, three central character emerge: the offenders – who are not so dangerous for society; the runaways, numerous and ominous because they are likely to fall into the third category, that of the depraved, who are the most threatening. Morality is therefore at the core of society’s expectations regarding feminine juvenile conduct. Consequently, the intervention of Justice consists mainly in regulating the female teenagers and their supposed sexual misconduct. The judiciary response to minor offenders, runaways and depraved girls resides inevitably in confining the delinquent in a catholic institution run by nuns. While this work shows how heavy handed were the moral order and social control in the 1950s, it also illustrates the agency, strength and vitality of some of these “bad girls”, irredeemable, playing with social conventions and deciding to live freely -- whatever the cost.
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Contributor : Véronique Blanchard <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 4:33:30 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 11:50:16 AM
Document(s) archivé(s) le : Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 5:00:19 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-01497424, version 1


Véronique Blanchard. "Mauvaises filles" Portraits de la déviance féminine juvénile (1945-1958). Histoire. Université de Poitiers (France), 2016. Français. ⟨tel-01497424⟩



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