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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Minor problems: Juvenile delinquents and the construction of a Puerto Rican subject, 1880–1938
by Laboy Perez, Suset L., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2014, 229; 3647983
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focuses on the creation of a juvenile delinquent subject in Puerto Rico, studying why concerns about children and youth transgressions emerged and evolved in the island after the mid 19th century. Furthermore, it analyzes the creation and evolution of new state institutions to prosecute, contain, and reform delinquent youth between 1880 and 1938. It also traces the experiences of the children and the families targeted by these institutions. The dissertation answers the following questions: 1) How was juvenile delinquency conceived and defined, and by whom? 2) What practices, policies and institutions were developed to deal with juvenile delinquents? 3) How did “juvenile delinquents,” their families, and those targeted by the new institutions experience these measures?

By focusing on a diverse set of actors, from policymakers to the children and families who they targeted and by paying attention to both the colonial and global contexts, this dissertation makes several contributions to the scholarship on Americanization, Latin American legal history, the history of childhood in the region, and of the limits of colonial relationships. It reveals how the development of juvenile justice systems contributed to notions of nation and citizenship in Latin America and the Caribbean. This dissertation suggests that the comprehensive study of juvenile delinquency is essential to understand the construction of national subjects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Children and youth were essential subjects in the process of creating ideal citizens that would contribute to national progress. Finally, the dissertation builds on recent scholarship about the Puerto Rican colonial experience to demonstrate how local actors and initiatives shaped key areas of life in the island.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fuente, Alejandro de la
School: University of Pittsburgh
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American history, American history, Latin American Studies
Keywords: Americanization, Colonialism, Imperialism, Juvenile courts, Juvenile deliquency, Puerto rico
Publication Number: 3647983
ISBN: 978-1-321-42549-9
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