Ensuring Failure?

The Impact of Class on Girls in Swedish Secure Care

in Girlhood Studies
View More View Less
  • 1 Municipal Research and Development, Stockholm, Sweden
Restricted access

Abstract

Historically, the regulation of girls through institutionalization has been guided by bourgeois norms of femininity, including virtue, domesticity, and motherhood. Using a Foucauldian perspective on the production of subjects in Swedish secure care, I investigate whether or not middle-class norms of femininity, centered today around self-regulation, still guide the regulation of working-class girls. By analyzing data from an ethnographic study, I show that even though secure care is repressive, it is also permeated with the aim of producing self-regulating subjects corresponding with discourses on ideal girlhood. However, since working-class girls are rarely made intelligible within such discourses, thereby making the position of self-regulatory subject inaccessible, the care system leaves them to shoulder the responsibility for resolving a situation that is shaped by structures beyond their control.

Contributor Notes

Maria A. Vogel is director of research at a municipal Research and Development unit in Stockholm, Sweden. Her research, given its overall theme of the role of gender in young people's lives and development, focuses on those with psychosocial problems in secure care. She has a special interest in teenage girls and the construction of girlhood. She and Linda Arnell, Örebro University, are the editors of Living Like a Girl. Agency, Social Vulnerability and Welfare Measures in Europe and Beyond, forthcoming in the Transnational Girlhoods Series (Berghahn Books).

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

  • Aspers, Patrik. 2011. Ethnographic Methods: Understanding and Explaining Our Time. [in Swedish.] Malmö: Liber.

  • Baines, Margaret, and Christine Alder. 1996. “Are Girls More Difficult to Work with? Youth Workers’ Perspectives in Juvenile Justice and Related Areas. Crime & Delinquency 42 (3): 467485. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128796042003008.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bäckman, Olof, and Anders Nilsson. 2011. “Pathways to Social Exclusion—A Life-Course Study.” European Sociological Review 27 (1): 107123. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcp064.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bosworth, Mary. 2000. “Confining Femininity: A History of Gender, Power and Imprisonment.” Theoretical Criminology 4 (3): 265284. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480600004003002.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bucerius, Sandra M. 2013. “Becoming a ‘Trusted Outsider’: Gender, Ethnicity, and Inequality in Ethnographic Research.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 42 (6): 690721. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241613497747.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carlen, Pat, and Jacqueline Tombs. 2006. “Reconfigurations of Penality: The Ongoing Case of the Women's Imprisonment and Reintegration Industries.” Theoretical Criminology 10 (3): 337360. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480606065910.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chesney-Lind, Meda, and Michele Eliason. 2006. “From Invisible to Incorrigible: The Demonization of Marginalized Women and Girls.” Crime, Media, Culture 2 (1): 2947. https://doi.org/10.1177/1741659006061709.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chesney-Lind, Meda, and Katherine Irwin. 2008. Beyond Bad Girls: Gender, Violence and Hype. New York: Routledge.

  • Dohrn, Bernardine. 2004. “All Ellas: Girls Locked Up.” Feminist Studies 30 (2): 302324. https://doi.org/10.2307/20458965.

  • Donzelot, Jacques. 1997. The Policing of Families. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

  • Ellis, Katie. 2018. “Contested Vulnerability: A Case Study of Girls in Secure Care.” Children and Youth Services Review 88: 15663. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.02.047.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ericsson, Kjersti. 1997. Instinct and Virtue: The Control of Girls in the Fifties. [in Norwegian.] Oslo: Pax.

  • Ericsson, Kjersti, and Nina Jon. 2006. “Gendered Social Control: ‘A Virtuous Girl’ and ‘a Proper Boy.’Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention 7 (2): 126141. https://doi.org/10.1080/14043850601002692.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Formark, Bodil, and Annelie Bränström Öhman. 2013. “Situating Nordic Girls’ Studies.” Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 6 (2): 310. https://doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2013.060202.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foucault, Michel. [1974]1987. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. [in Swedish.] Lund: Arkiv.

  • Foucault, Michel. [1978]1991. “Governmentality.” In The Foucault Effect, ed. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller, 87104. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Franzén, Eva, Bo Vinnerljung, and Anders Hjern. 2008. “The Epidemiology of Out-of-Home Care for Children and Youth: A National Cohort Study.” The British Journal of Social Work 38 (6): 10431059. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl380.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Garland, David. 2001. The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gonick, Marnina. 2006. “Between ‘Girl Power’ and ‘Reviving Ophelia’: Constituting the Neoliberal Girl Subject.” National Women's Studies Association Journal 18 (2): 123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodkind, Sara. 2009. “‘You Can Be Anything You Want, but You Have to Believe It’: Commercialized Feminism in Gender-Specific Programs for Girls.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 34 (2): 397422. https://doi.org/10.1086/591086.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gradin Franzén, Anna. 2015. “Responsibilization and Discipline: Subject Positioning at a Youth Detention Home.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 44 (3): 251279. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241613520455.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harris, Anita. 2004. Future Girl. Young Women in the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge.

  • Harvey, David. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Henriksen, Ann-Karina. 2018. “Vulnerable Girls and Dangerous Boys.” YOUNG 26 (5): 427443. https://doi.org/10.1177/1103308817737194.

  • Henriksen, Ann-Karina, and Annick Prieur. 2019. “‘So, Why Am I Here?’ Ambiguous Practices of Protection, Treatment and Punishment in Danish Secure Institutions for Youth.” British Journal of Criminology 59 (5): 11611177. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azz018.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kazdin, Alan E. 1977. The Token Economy [Elektronic Resourse]. Springer. https://doi-org.ezp.sub.su.se/10.1007/978-1-4613-4121-5.

  • Lundström, Tommy, and Marie Sallnäs. 2003. “Class, Gender, and Ethnicity in Child Welfare.” [in Swedish.] Socialvetenskaplig Tidskrift 2/3: 193213.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCorkel, Jill A. 2003. “Embodied Surveillance and the Gendering of Punishment.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 32 (1): 4176. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241602238938.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McKim, Allison. 2008. “‘Getting Gut-level’: Punishment, Gender, and Therapeutic Governance.” Gender and Society 22 (3): 303323. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243208317826.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McRobbie, Angela. 2007. “Top Girls? Young Women and the Post-Feminist Sexual Contract.” Cultural Studies 21 (4–5): 718737. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502380701279044.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morgan, Marcia, and Pam Patton. 2002. “Gender-Responsive Programming in the Justice System: Oregon's Guidelines for Effective Programming for Girls.” Federal Probation Journal 66: 5765.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pomerantz, Shauna, and Rebecca Raby. 2017. Smart Girls: Success, School, and the Myth of Post-Feminism. Oakland: University of California Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reay, Diane. 2001. “‘Spice Girls’, ‘Nice Girls’, ‘Girlies’ and ‘Tomboys’: Gender Discourses, Girls’ Cultures and Femininities in the Primary Classroom.” Gender and Education 13 (2), 153166. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250120051178.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roesch-Marsh, Autumn. 2014. “‘Out of Control’: Making Sense of the Behaviour of Young People Referred to Secure Accommodation.” The British Journal of Social Work 44 (2): 197213. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcs102.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rose, Nikolas S. 1996. Inventing Our Selves: Psychology, Power, and Personhood. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • Sharpe, Gilly. 2016. “Re-Imagining Justice for Girls: A New Agenda for Research.” Youth Justice 16 (1): 317. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473225415570358.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sixtensson, Johanna. “From Here to the Future. Borderlines, Agency, and Resistance in Girls’ Everyday Life. [in Swedish.].” (PhD diss., Malmö University, 2018.)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skeggs, Beverly. 1997. Formations of Class and Gender. Becoming Respectable. London: SAGE.

  • Vogel; Maria A.Secure Units and Chains of Care: Youth, Gender, Class and Ethnicity. [in Swedish].” (PhD diss. Stockholm University, 2012).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vogel, Maria A. 2016. Mental health, Vulnerability and a Legitimizing Concern—Discursive Understandings of Teenage Girls and Secure Care. [in Swedish]. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift 2: 109128.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vogel, Maria A. 2018. An Endeavour for Autonomy: How Girls Understand Their Lived Experiences of Being Referred to Secure Care. YOUNG 26 (1): 7085. https://doi.org/10.1177/1103308817705258.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vogel, Maria A. 2020. Discipline, Femininity, and Compulsory Care. Girls’ Everyday Life in Secure Care. [in Swedish]. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walkerdine, Valerie, Helene Lucey, and June Melody. 2001. Growing Up Girl. Psychosocial Explorations of Gender and Class. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walkerdine, Valerie. 2003. “Reclassifying Upward Mobility: Femininity and the Neo-Liberal Subject.” Gender and Education 15 (3): 237248. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250303864.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wyse, Jessica J. B. 2013. “Rehabilitating Criminal Selves: Gendered Strategies in Community Corrections.” Gender & Society 27 (2): 231255. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243212470509.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics