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Homeboys, Babies, Men in Suits: The State and the Reproduction of Male Dominance

Author(s): Lynne Haney
Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 61, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 759-778
Published by: American Sociological Association
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Lynne Haney
University of California, Berkeley
This article is a theoretically based ethnography of the gender practices of
two state institutions. Feminist scholarship on the state has tended to conceptualize the state as a macro-level structure, embodied in social policies,
provisions, and abstract principles. By conceptualizing the state at the institutional level, I widen the scope offeminist state theory to include the micro
apparatuses of state power In my case studies, I depict the dynamics of two
institutional gender regimes and the distinct patterns of control and contestation that characterize them. These ethnographic data capture how women's
relations to men, children, and welfare programs are constructed and reconstructed by state actors andfemale clients who regulate and resist each other
From these data I demonstrate that the state is not a uniform structure that
acts to impose a singular set of gender expectations on women. Rather, I
propose that feminist theorists begin to conceptualize the state as a network
of differentiated institutions, layered with conflicting and competing messages about gender

n the decade since MacKinnon(1983)
boldly proclaimed that there was "no
theory of the state" within feminism, state
theory has become a central part of feminist
scholarship. Feminists from multiple academic disciplines and theoretical orientations are now engaged in this project and are
producing a diversity of feminist approaches
to the study of the state. Examining topics
as diverse as social policy (Abramovitz
1988; Gordon 1990, 1994; Skocpol 1992),
legal/bureaucratic norms (Eisenstein 1985;
MacKinnon 1989), modes of institution
building (Koven and Michel 1993; Muncy
*Direct correspondence to Lynne Haney, Department of Sociology, 410 Barrows Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
( Special thanks to
Michael Burawoy for his support and encouragement. I also thank Robert Bulman, Nancy Chodorow, Shana Cohen, Kathleen Daly, Craig Haney,
Jerome Karabel, Louise Lamphere, LauraLovett,
Kristen Luker, Jackie Orr, Janice Peritz, Arona
Ragins, Elizabeth C. Rudd, Maria Cecilia Dos
Santos, Jirina Strickland, Andras Tapolcai, Miklos Voros, the ASR Editor, and two ASR reviewers
for their assistance with earlier drafts of this article. [Reviewers acknowledged by the authorare
Lisa D. Brush and Christine L. Williams. -ED.]

1991), and notions of citizenship (Jones
1990; Orloff 1993; Pateman 1988), feminist
scholars have begun to delineate the contours of the state's "genderregime" (Connell
1987). These different feminist perspectives
are united by their assumptions about the nature of the state itself-their conception of
the state as a macro-level, masculine entity.
Although feminists disagree about the specific arrangementand location of this "maleness," they agree in viewing the state as primarily a structural entity guided in some
way by male interests.
This view of the state has led feminists in
revealing directions, but it has also left them
with only a partial vision of the way the state
patternsgender relations.The state is not simply an abstract, macro-level structure; it is
also a complex of concrete institutions with
which women interact in direct and immediate ways. To discover how women are socialized at this latter level of state practice, I conducted ethnographic research in the juvenile
justice system of a large California city-in
the county probation departmentand at Alliance, a group home for incarcerated teen
mothers. The institutional gender regimes I
encountered in this work problematized the
centraltenets of feminist state theory.Instead

AmericanSociological Review, 1996, Vol. 61 (October:759-778)


First. I also found striking patterns of resistance by clients-young women who evaluated and subsequently transformedthese messages.760 AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW capitalist relations of production while enforcing patriarchalrelations of reproduction. male-dominated state apparatus. Many then argue that the state ultimately encourages female dependence.a new reprole in mediating gender relations of Taking this argument further. unskilled jobs. I conclude by reiteratingthe implications of my findings for feminist state theory. In the Appendix. These state actors did not work unilaterallyto impose a singular set of gender norms on their clients. Nelson 1990). the nuclear family. I also demonstrate how agendas for women are created in these different settings and how female clients receive them. interactive theory of the state. I begin by examining the image of the state inherent in feminist theory. Socialist feminists have made the case for the state's enforcement of a patriarchal social order in two ways. Eisenstein 1983). in their analyses of social policy. this is now done directly by securing women's dependence on the state itself (Brown 1981).they set out to empower their clients by transmitting distinct messages of independencemessages that were shaped by their respective institutional settings. Because these sys. I propose that feminist theorists begin to conceive of the state as a set of conflicting institutional contexts.cratic.this idea vividly when she called the state abled socialist feminists to see the state's "the great collective father-figure. women dependent on men as a collective AND THE STATE embodied in the state (Boris and Bardaglio The state entered feminist theory largely 1983). the absent fathers"(p.intervenes to "manage dependence" (Mink rizing on the relationship between produc. the state coerces women to attach themselves to men and to nuclear family structures (Gordon 1990). The main contri. it protected socialist feminist state theorists assert that of confronting a uniform. impersonal pyramid of a group of trator of class conflicts. I argue for a more grounded.I uncovered numerous institutions in the juvenile system. I provide a complete methodological discussion of the fieldwork itself. This connection en.ence to "manless"women for whom the state bution of this feminist tradition is its theo. The state no longer oppresses women indirectly by supporting the nuclear family. By keeping welfare payments low or by forcing women to accept low-wage. . 64). these scholars implicate the state in the oppression of women through its support of a specific household structure. which relies on male wages and female domestic services (McIntosh 1978. I then explore the patterns of control and resistance characteristic of the state agencies I studied. many nonstate simultaneously served the needs of capitalism and of patriarchy. Social welfare provisions are then analyzed for their tendency to make FEMINIST THEORY.In this case it is arguedthat men's familial power has been passed over to the state. This approach is often used in referthrough socialist feminism. Central to all of these arguments is the state's role in upholding "private"patriarchy-individual women's reliance on individual men. Nelson 1990). In short. most of which were staffed by women.1990. . PATRIARCHY. Rather. In a second approach. In this article I apply these field observations to prevailing feminist state theories and suggest ways of reconstructing those theories. socialist feminists implicate the state as instrumentalin constituting a new form of patriarchy-"public" patriarchy. Burnstyn (1983) stated tion and reproduction. These theorists demonstrate how welfare policy bifurcates the social world into public and private spheres and polices their borders through a "traditionalfamily ethic" (Abramovitz 1988. They also reveal how policies such as AFDC and Social Security are premised on the family wage and on assumptions of female dependence (Gordon 1994. Instead of viewing the state as an abstract entity guided by masculine interests. Zaretsky 1982). . who have taken the place of all those tems of oppression were interconnected. and problematize that image by explicating the bifurcated nature of the juvenile system. resentative of men-as-a-group . a bureauThe state was necessarily more than an arbi. connecting them to their institutional settings and their relations with the surrounding innercity community.

the juvenile system was bifurcated between co- .THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE patriarchy is endemic to the foundations of the modern state itself. In both cases. Substantive state programsthen reproducethis bifurcation. They also show how state policy can foster clients' activism: how women use notions of entitlement to form alliances. They see the state as the institutionalization of male subjectivity-the embodiment of objectivity. Yet from my initial interactions with the state actors working in the two institutions I studied. MacKinnon 1989). To do so. Rejecting the idea that women are passive in their relations with the state. Particularly in their work on the juvenile system. Others focus on women as clients. the principles of citizenship guiding modern polities constitute the state as a masculine entity (Jones 1990.infused male bureaucraciesand welfare systems with their values and norms (Koven and Michel 1993. State policy and law therefore "constitute the social order in the interest of men as a gender" (MacKinnon 1989:162). the state's viewpoint is essentially male (Eisenstein 1985. appropriatingstate resources and social workers in domestic power struggles (Gordon 1988). positioning men as rights-bearingcitizens and women as dependent clients (Fraser 1989). 1994) and detention centers (Chesney-Lind 1992) are used to support assertions of the "system's" patriarchalnature. these theorists focus on the unintended outcomes of state gender regimes: how attempts to reproduce male dominance are challenged by women themselves. a few feminist scholars have moved away from a "top-down"perspective on the state and toward a "power resource" type of analysis. and rationality. courts. Piven 1990). Smart 1990). This theorizing has followed two directions. the state adheres to a notion of citizenship that opposes the independentworker male to the dependent-nonworkerfemale (Orloff 1993. how the "system" reacts to young women more harshly (Chesney-Lind 1977) and/or more leniently (Visher 1983. For some feminist theorists. which seeks to advance female dependency. and thus recast "public patriarchy"(Hernes 1987. Finally. Pateman 1988). Webb 1984). These data then are used to make larger claims about the system's gender bias-that is. inspired by professionalism and maternalism. Feminist criminologists have tended to explore gender differences in treatmentwithin the penal system (Cain 1989. determine one's ability to demand broad civil and political rights. Pateman 1988)." They spoke in "us versus them" terms-referring to themselves and their girls as "us. and prisons as "them. Morgen 1990. Muncy 1991). feminist criminologists interpret the outcomes of specific penal institutions as evidence of the system's overall gendered character.Whether they implicate the state for participating in the constitution of private or public patriarchy. these scholars restore agency to feminist state theory. A similar approach marks the few qualitative studies conducted by feminist criminologists: Interview data collected in prisons (Arnold 1990. and whether they focus on intended or unintendedeffects. neutrality. For others. feminist historians emphasize women's role in building the Western welfare state: how women. THE MYTH OF THE MONOLITHIC STATE: DUALISM IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM The one-dimensional quality of feminist state theory also characterizes feminist analyses of one specific "arm"of the statethe criminal justice system. it was clear that no single state apparatus was at work in the juvenile justice system. embodied in policies or abstract principles." and the police. These theorists argue that because employment. Although these feminist theorists have made importantinroads into the "gendering" 761 of the state. for its male stance or for its notion of citizenship. and the "independence" it presumably bestows.The result is an undifferentiated conception of a singular state apparatus operating with only one approach to young women. They demonstratehow female clients use the state's interest in the private sphere to their advantage. they conceive of the state in similar terms: as a national structure. I believe their conceptualizations of the state are too narrow. demand social rights. they rely almost exclusively on quantitative data such as arrest statistics and sentencing rates." In short. Hence. Probation officers and the group home staff at Alliance saw themselves as separate from the "system.

disapproved of the way one of her wards spoke to her. she remindedTemica that she could end the relationship by sending her to Juvie. but POs occasionally sent their clients there for what they called "cool-off periods." The system was most dangerous. Instead she tried to foster the determination and strength these girls already had. Probation wasn't like that. although probation was one part of the system in which clients were not dehumanized. When we met. A similar "us versus them" perspective prevailed at Alliance. Don. their friends. "Yes. and she was overwhelmed. She believed they needed these attributesto survive. continued to see her boyfriend despite Carol's advice. this was no simple task. Like Carol. there are injustices in the AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW system. Horror stories of their experiences in these institutions inevitably ensued. Officially she was to meet with each girl twice a month. just kept tabs on her girls. they also used it to their advantage. with opinions to be heard. and 20 percentAnglo. Carol does a good job keepin' them feisty. "We like 'em feisty here. . and POs always distanced themselves from these facilities. they're cooked. If her girls failed to report to her. like Carol." The Alliance staff consisted of eight women. When one of her girls." she once remarked. she was supposed to issue a warrantfor their arrest."Hence. probation was a "special" part of the system. Each meeting began with a discussion of the clients' treatment in court and Juvenile Hall. Carol left her in Juvie for an extra week. Temica. another PO. All these women believed that their facility was different. Alliance received other state and local funds. Marika expressed hostility toward the "system" and viewed Alliance as separate from it. Marika Jenkins. 20 percent Latina." Don would say. As Carol's supervisor. Probation officer Carol Jackson was an African American woman in her early fifties. she sent her to Juvie to "learn to talk right. she admitted that this would never happen." she once told me. According to Carol. Juvie just loomed. however. and she believed that this situation put the two facilities at odds with each other: "They get nervous that we help girls make it on their own. Each girl was put on AFDC when admitted. were women of color: approximately 60 percent were African American. and "the system. "and when they reach Juvenile Hall. This was also out of the question. In her eyes. She thought Alliance worked differently than CYA." Carol Jackson's distrust of the "system" was shared by the 15 other probation officers (POs) in the Department. According to the director.which operated according to different principles. An aura of fear surrounded Juvenile Hall. The facility had a contractwith CYA whereby any girl who entered the prison pregnanthad the option of coming to Alliance for the length of her sentence. In this way the facility relied on receiving girls from CYA. which she saw as hostile places oriented toward punishment. The threat of "Juvie" loomed over Carol's girls. She. Limits placed on the girls' daily routines were presented as being in their interest.762 ercive and permissive apparatuses. four African American and four Anglo. "We don't do you like that. Most often. The great majority. She also wanted to keep her girls out of a "destructive system" that "entraps them and produces a horrible cycle of welfare and dependency. but here you'll be treatedlike people. They reminded the girls of this difference every day. telling them how lucky they were to be at Alliance. Laughing. there was no time and no need. and that's great. her caseload had just increased to over 100. It did not exert too much control over clients. but AFDC was its main source. these girls had been beaten down by their men." Although these POs tried to keep their distance from the brutality of the coercive apparatus. on the other hand. as did Juvenile Hall or the California Youth Authority (CYA). and this money was used to support her. When Rose. it had a reputationas a brutal place. these other POs believed they were different from those working in other parts of the system.probationofficers used the mere presence of the coercive arm to induce their clients to act in certain ways. Like Carol. This idea was articulated most clearly in a series of ongoing orientation meetings held by the Departmentfor new clients. said. "The courts treat my girls like a piece of meat to be processed." Carol refused to take this approach with her female clients." When Cassandra was arrested for assaulting a girl who "messed with her man" and gave Carol a "badattitude"about it.

they used the girls' fear of CYA to force them to act in certain ways." Carol reminds them. feminist criminologists tend to conceptualize the penal system as a male. Sixteen young women sit in a room and listen as their probation officer. governed by discipline and independence. who rarely woke before noon. a common image emerged from the probation department and Alliance-an image of a juvenile system bifurcated between a coercive arm.THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE They were learning to live productively. Maria. "You sittin' here is proof that those boys aren't carin' for you. Carol lists a series of rules before reaching the most important one of all-her "ruleof independence. they defined their work in opposition to what they perceived as the hegemonic practices of other state bodies. "If CYA had it their way. Bock. Yet because these were not the forces their girls felt threatened by. lectures them about the conditions of their probation. This judicial stance allegedly teaches women that passivity and dependence are positive gender attributes. The state actors I observed would be appalled to know that events in the courts or prisons were generalized to their work. Wasn't this better than CYA. Carol Jackson. two girls roll their eyes. Even so. Carol tells the girls. was reminded of the sexual acts that girls had to perform in CYA for cigarettes. Hudson 1990). by trying to empower their girls. both approaches prompted resistance. where they were coerced into acting in certain ways? As Denise. Although they relied on these bodies in their work. This threat was more serious for these girls because of their babies. they believed they directly resisted what the coercive arm produced in clients. UNDERMINING AND REINSCRIBING PRIVATE PATRIARCHY It is orientationnight at the ProbationDepartment. Other feminist criminologists trace the system's patriarchalnature to the kind of girls it draws into its web (Gelsthorpe 1989. Tonya. you would be stuck in little cells and your babies would be mothered by the government.thus preparing them for traditional positions in nuclear family structures (Messerschmidt 1986). They argue that state actors use status offenses to regulate female sexu- . stated in a meeting. If they thought a girl was not taking the program seriously. they did so in different ways. Hence Alliance's more permissive approach rested on the existence of the coercive arm. two others flip through pictures in their wallets and show each other photos of their homeboys. Thus the staff followed throughwith this threat only for those girls who had not yet had their babies. they raised the possibility of returningher to CYA. in lingering notions of female fragility and vulnerability (Chesney-Lind 1977. Frazier. By replacing punishment with discipline and dependence with independence. Daly 1989. Many of these scholars locate this orientation in judicial "chivalry" and/or "paternalism"-that is. feminist criminologists have reached a common understanding of the gendered norms transmittedto young women in this system. Datesman and Scarpetti 1980. Although these state actors were located in the alternative apparatusand both sought to instill autonomy in their girls. was often threatenedwith a CYA stay. We are doing this for you. In their work on gender bias in the juvenile system. can take care of them. characterized by punishment and force. This situation was even more complex. not even their boyfriends or homeboys. Two patterns of control and contestation resulted-the patterns were enacted on the terrains of private and public patriarchy. so you won't be in jail or on welfare all your life. paternalistic entity that acts to "enforce women's place in a patriarchal society" (Chesney-Lind and Sheldon 1992:80). Another puts on lipstick in a mirror. they will learn to rely on themselves and to realize that nobody. A trip to CYA meant that the babies would be placed in foster care. and a permissive arm. As she speaks. Like feminist state theorists." Yet the staff members also used the threat of CYA to their advantage. who smoked out a window. they saw themselves as something separate. This picture complicates the homogeneous conception of the state inherent in feminist state theory and criminology. and Henretta 1983). In this way. the house director."While under her care. These divergences were 763 rooted in differences in their institutional settings and in their understandingsof the forces threateningtheir girls. its discipline relied on the punishment of CYA.

" In this way. Webb 1984).764 ality and to impose "traditional gender norms and behaviors" (Alder 1984. fighting with them. like many state actors responsible for regulating the lives of "unorthodox" young women. and clothing. of course. the more their homeboys will love them." and the system stepped in." Carol said. Hence she spent a great deal of time figuring out what endangered her girls in their inner-city communities. Yet to clarify how they approached these issues. "It's like a business deal." One of Carol's girls. At this juncture they "lost their strength. Carol effectively kept them out of the system. This qualification is important because Carol had a particular view of these innercity communities and the forces that endangered her girls there. The two elements were connected: By helping her girls stay afloat in the community. He's got the cash. But the fools buy into it. Hence. according to the POs: Women always got the short end of the stick. It was Carol Jackson against the inner city. Even when it seemed that the men were not involved. Many of her girls had been picked up for shoplifting jewelry. Rains 1971). sexy girls on each arm. Solinger 1992). This responsibility was twofold: It involved keeping them out of the rest of the system and teaching them to make it in their community. perfume. "The guy has the control here. most of her girls had been arrested for offenses related to their "homeboys. Lees 1989. and then attacked what she thought pulled them down. They think the finer they look. In this way. The "Be-Your-Own-Woman"Rule Many of the issues addressed by feminist criminologists also concerned probation officer Carol Jackson and her colleagues. these relationships were essentially economic exchanges. admitted to Carol that she had started selling because she wanted nice clothing. All of these arguments entail a view of the system as an upholder of traditional sexual mores and an enforcer of private patriarchy. "I saw that girl laying there. all burnt out with that man next to her. Give her the energy to break free from him." Carol argued. once said after returning from a home visit. men were the biggest internal threat to their girls' survival. who had been arrested for selling drugs. These POs were overworked and overwhelmed. Still others focus on the kind of punishment inflicted on girls. "My girls are just objects for him. or robbing stores with them. But they did not do so in the traditional way. her boyfriend did not like the way she dressed. These state actors held expectations for their that revolved female clients-expectations around their clients' sexuality and relations to men. Visher 1983. And. these POs connected their girls' delinquency to their sexuality (Nathanson 1991. But he needs the image. and I wanted to shake her. faulting the boyfriend for making the girl feel she had to be attractive. by deeming them delinquent for transgressing sexual norms or rules of domesticity (Cain 1989. arguing that girls are policed with hegemonic images of heterosexuality (Cain 1989) and are taught to become subordinate partners in heterosexual relationships (Lees 1989)." Problems arose when girls engaged in illegal activities to stand by their men. their work must be viewed in its larger institutional context. these POs perceived a community in which men had the economic control and the ability to convince women they could take care of them." she theorized. malleable. At the same time. "You've got the guy who sells drugs. "I've seen a million of them. the terrain where Carol worked was the community itself. another PO. "I know exactly what they're like. and ultimately delinquent. Carol attacked this explanation. Yet this was a lie. a little digging by Carol AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW revealed that they were the root of the problem. According to Carol." a term they used synonymously with boyfriend or lover. So he gives my girls the cash and buys them nice things. For Carol and other POs." As Rose. These POs had a common line about the male/female relationships characteristic of inner-city communities. Carol believed that their motivation was to "look fine for the boys. Carol was committed to "protecting" her clients. Instead they faulted their girls' overinvestment in men for its tendency to make them weak. Her girls had been caught selling drugs for these men. or at least her vision of the inner city. they give him sex when he wants. It was this cycle of male . the good things in life. Carol's girls dropped in for a quick meeting once every few months and then moved on." In her view.

Usually this began with Carol asking her girls about their boyfriends. a young woman surroundedby men. In her words. Furious. Lasondra listed all of the material objects her homeboy had bought her. Did they think their homies would always be there? Men aren't like that. finally she called Jamika's mother and told her to talk to her daughter. with minor qualifications-Carol moved on to her next strategy. Carol responded by sending her to Juvie until the day after the prom. she employed a third method-coercion. "And where you gonna be? 'Cause you know you ain't gonna be with them. it was a struggle to recast them as allies. or. If the girl said yes-which most of them eventually did. According to Carol. They come and go as they please. whom she hated. Generally this remained a threat." Ironically. This was her main objective with Nieka." These POs loved this term. acting "feisty. fostering self-esteem often entailed praising girls for lying or manipulating people. Most of them responded by discussing what their boyfriends did for them. One day Carol discovered that Donna had been arrested for a fight in which Candy was involved. Overall. ripped off her shirt to display a tattoo on her 765 chest. Rather. Then. It read "Emilio. they were not doing it very effectively. how good he was in bed. for instance. Carol saved coercive strategies for extreme cases. Because adolescent girls see their mothers as enemies. this was the hardest part of her work." One of Carol's favorite tactics here was to point out that her girls were on probation because of men's inability to care for them. Jamika decided to have the baby but refused to tell her mother. Infuriated. Donna described how her boyfriend protected her. he was on his way into jail. you gonna tattoo his name on your brain?" When Carol wasn't getting anywhere with either of these strategies. she warned. a young . One of Carol's clients. By the time Donna came out of Juvie. Usually Carol coupled this strategy with attempts to make her girls feel strong themselves. as supervisor Don said. In addition to fostering self-reliance. Carol steered her girls toward their mothers and female kin." but she did send a few of her girls to Juvie to "cool out. Overall I observed four components of this socialization process-strategies that Carol used to break this cycle. promoting self-esteem was more difficult. you'd be better than that. A fourth. I'm teachin' you better. POs saw this behavior as evidence that their girls were bright and assertive. Keisha.Again. Carol could not convince her otherwise. had been arrested for stabbing a boy at school. in the case of Jamika's pregnancy. so Carol set up regular meetings between the women and acted as a mediator. She admitted to Carol that she had lied to the authorities about her relationship with the boy to receive a lesser sentence. Carol loved this story and applauded Shavon for manipulating the system successfully. She made weekly interventions to make sure they were communicating. she countered by asking them if they loved their homeboys enough to do what these boys wanted or to listen to whatever they said." In one case. To them it meant exhibiting strength and perseverance. Candy. You ain't no wall to be graffitied on. if their men were protecting them. Carol yelled: "Come on. Shavon. Jamika told stories about what Ricardo gave her sexually. In the case of Tyneshia. a girl who was arrested for selling drugs to buy a dress for her boyfriend's prom. something she mentioned when they "lost their senses. The only woman in Nieka's life was her father's wife. What's next." the name of an old boyfriend. she sent Donna to Juvie until the day after Candy's trial. She tried to make them acknowledge and utilize what Collins (1991) called the "other mothers" surroundingthem in their communities. Carol was worried about Donna's attachment to her gang-member boyfriend. she tried to give them "self-esteem. more common approach was to present her girls with alternatives to their homeboys. girl. She believed this would solve the problem: The guy would find another girl and forget Tyneshia. First she tried to make her girls admit that they relied too much on men. Carol raised the prospect of jail. Karrina. Yet I never saw Carol accept their portrayalsof these relationships. At other times.THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE dependency and delinquency that Carol Jackson tried to undercut in her work. If a girl was particularly recalcitrant or too deeply entrenched in a relationship. At this juncture she forced them to acknowledge the short-lived nature of heterosexual relationships. in one of her meetings with Carol.

heterosexuality is "usually the only privilege that black women have. Her approach was rooted largely in the terrain of her work." In addition to sounding out of touch. instead they often sent messages back to Carol. Carol's girls were at the bottom.she sought to undermineit. if Carol gives me the money. LaToyaand Reeba didn't know each other." LaToyaagreed. To them her message sounded threatening and dangerous. Most were women of color. Lees 1989). and had little formal schooling. "I like my man 'cause he gives me money and hooks me up. instead of institutionalizing "private" patriarchy." refused to go on a Department-sponsored summer retreat for girls because.As part of her probation. telling Carol that she "didn't get it. both girls were waiting. Carol's message was threatening to her girls for anotherreason: On all of the main hierarchies of power and privilege. In socialist feminist terms. In sum. Carol's girls were deeply embedded in their inner-city communities." In response. she took up with a gang member." Because she believed that her girls' relations to men fell into the latter category. When I reached the office.Like the community 20 years ago." Botswana laughed. but you also needed a man.implicitly and explicitly. Carol called a Big Sisters program and had an "other mother" assigned to Karrina. Rather than socializing them to be dependent (Chesney-Lind 1992) or policing them with images of heterosexual coupling (Cain 1989.Karrinahad to meet regularlywith this woman. it was potentially dangerous. None of us have racial or sexual privilege. All were young and poor. The fact that she had to employ three or four strategies to deliver her message was itself indicative of the resistance she met." Sometimes it was cool to have your homegirls back you up. After being released from Juvie. two girls articulated this idea to me." What could her mama do when the dealer came looking for her? Was her mama as strong as the machine gun he would be wielding? The message to Carol was clear: Her advice was not viable. as an attempt to overcome harmful stereotypes about her clients and relations of domination. adding that Carol was originally from Texas and didn't know what "went down in this town. then maybe I'd listen. If Carol was to protect them and shield them from the system. who was "wanted"by a drug dealer in her neighborhood. In this way Carol's message could be read as potentially liberating. her only option was to deal with these communities-to tie her girls into trustworthy survival networks and to keep them out of relationships that "pulled them down. it set into motion acts of resistance-acts that ultimately reinforced exactly what Carol wanted to undercut. but they immediately began to talk about Carol and how "messed up" she was. A common idea that I heardCarol's girls articulate. [M]aintaining . Other girls attempted to communicate similar messages to Carol. In response. Carol tried to convince them that the heterosexual social contract was not viable. Carol began with her "mother thing. almost none of us have class privilege. was that she was no longer in touch with the community. When Carol was sick one afternoon and called me in to cover for her. as she put it. Many of them spent their time with Carol educating her about their communities. however. like my grandmother." As Reeba said. Her girls. She deliberately was arrestedso she could hide from him. her girls often countered by listing how many of their friends had been killed recently. I first observed AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW this message relayed to Carol in a meeting with Botswana. I took them out for milkshakes and told them this would count as a meeting. "I ain't gonna be stuck with all them girls. "Man.766 woman who claimed that she "hated all women's guts. as if they were throwing danger in Carol's face to indicate that her agenda was not feasible. As Barbara Smith (1982) notes. "She's thinkin' of an old way. Carol's agenda was to break her girls' dependency on men and to strengthen their self-esteem and their ties to female kin." LaToya revealed. They liked her but thought she was "out of touch. What's more. she set out to draw them away from their homeboys. When Carol employed her socialization strategies. As a result. saw nothing emancipatory about her agenda. "My Man Won't Do Me Like That" Carol's meetings with her girls rarely went smoothly. Her girls did not simply "see the light" during their talks.

girls brought boyfriends to Carol to prove that they were not as bad as she thought. Usually the young men sat in the waiting room while the girls met with Carol. when she was in Carol's office. Men do that shit to her. "Ain't nothing worse than that. the girls under Carol's supervision appraised and then rejected her definition of their needs. arguing that many Black women fear stigmatization on this axis and hence accentuate their heterosexuality. It's 'cause she's so fat. "Look at that hair. LaToyaclaimed that her motherpunished her because "she's an old hag. they suggested that she change her hairstyle. Carol's girls also used their femininity as a form of protest by (literally) holding it up in Carol's face. One young woman. Carol therefore was attacking her girls on their one axis of power. they often made fun of her appearance. By calling into question the viability of the heterosexual social contract. which they knew infuriated Carol. always sprayed perfume around Carol's office when she entered. described how her mother tried to sleep with her man: "Now. Carol repeatedly told her to stop and said she was "acting a fool." Group meetings regularly turned into complaint sessions about mothers. It didn't work. Sometimes Carol's girls did more than talk about their homeboys. One day. her girls resisted. Carol Jackson. whom Carol sent to Juvie to miss her boyfriend's prom. Others startedbraidingor combing their hair. In front of Carol." Lasondraonce announced. they brought out mirrorsand applied makeup. the sex star. he was her knight in shining armor."Yet behind Carol's back. what do you say about that?" Carol sat silently in disbelief. For Donna." Jamika told Carol about all of her sexual escapades. Meanwhile Jamika sat silent. Jamikagrew increasingly explicit about what Ricardo did for her. Candy was all good.the only one who watched out for her. It might lighten you up." In explaining how her mother used Juvenile Hall to control her at home."I once heard a girl whisper to another. maybe the heterosexual contract would work for her too if she looked better.I never saw a woman present her homeboy as troubled or problematic. Jamika brought in Ricardo. when I was walking Donna out of the office after a discussion about Candy. In some cases they did this to show Carol that she couldn't stop them from being together. or clothing: "Jamesbought me this lipstick. She didn't say anything about the prom or Mike's presence. but frequently the girls brought them in. where and how they did the "wild thing. He was her protector. her girls' message was important: Even their mothers realized the value of . They believed they could not gain support from these relationships because their mothers were jealous of "all I got. they wanted to be young again and "look fine. he simply sat there as a silent symbol of her resistance. Still. suggesting that Carol touch his hair too." Even more common were those girls who called into question Carol's own femininity. she turnedto me and remarked. Often their boyfriends escorted them to the office." Carol ignored the comment. telling her that the office needed to be "freshened up. "butit would look better on you. No one likes her."Many girls used Carol's appearance to dismiss her ideas about their homeboys. Many of Carol's girls took a similar line about their mothers. Jamika even gave Carol some advice of her own: "Girl. and is pissed off. 171). as the other girls laughed hysterically. When a discussion grew heated." In a group meeting. Collins (1991) corroboratesthis point. To Jennifer. "Carol hates men. As a result. you should try the wild thing sometime. playing with Ricardo's hair. robbing them of their one source of privilege. Some girls proclaimed that their mothers envied them. One way of doing this was to reaffirm the advantages they received from those relations that Carol tried to undermine. As Carol fidgeted and begged Jamika to refrain from the details. came to her next appointment with Mike at her side." Jamika refused. Much as Rains (1971) describes how African American unwed mothers contested the "expert" discourse used to explain their pregnancies." But she would be all right as long as she kept looking fine. to show Carol that he wasn't like all the 767 rest." Another girl. makeup. Shavon. Tyneshia. who came in with a new piece of diamond jewelry every month.THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE 'straightness' is our last resort" (p. Shirika. Carol screamed at him and accused him of taking advantage of Jamika. ain't got nothin' left. her boyfriend was "the man"because he gave her "all the good stuff. In other cases.

her girls viewed as assets. in this setting. "AFDCis not your money. No one else was allowed in the facility. she is that these girls were tangled in the web of immediately stopped by Liz. As a result.768 sexual attractiveness. you can decide these things. Once again Carol was accused of being "out of touch." Frustrated." an interactive process through which the young women were socialized. All of these girls were official wards of the court and received AFDC.Debra puts back the baby food. the Alliance staff was not concerned about the girls' dependency on men. Carol's control and her girls' resistance were connected. an Liz retorts. When these girls left Carol's office with their homeboys at their side and wearing even more makeup than when they came in. The girls were forbidden to make phone calls or to receive more than two incoming calls a month. and this divided rather than united them. The staff believed that these men had already proved themselves unreliable." This point brings us back to the control that Carol's girls regarded her as exerting over them and how it informed their resistance. Here at Alliance of dependency.pendent on the government. Carol's messages of independence thus came across as threatening." The institutional setting at Alliance differed from that of the Probation Department in a numberof importantways. "Well. Once this context changed. Their men had disappeared. What Carol believed to be frivolous femininity and dangerous dependence on men. Their contact with the surrounding community therefore was quite limited. that's just fine 'cause my baby ain't hungry anyway. Unlike Carol Jackson."an "old-timer. replying. Instead the Alliance staff viewed the girls as relying too heavily on governUNDERCUTTING AND REINFORCING ment institutions. they had learned precisely what Carol tried to make them unlearn." remarkedCharlene. African American counselor. It was precisely these relations that the Alliance staff sought to transformin their interactions with these young women. They thought their girls PUBLIC PATRIARCHY turned too readily to the "impersonal pyraIt is lunchtime at Alliance. her girls resisted and emphasized all the more what they "had"-by highlighting their femininity and reassertingtheir heterosexual bonds and the possibilities within them. her girls considered to be economic and physical necessities. "You know the rule.the system. Hence. They spent most of their days within the confines of the home.either they had left the girls or were themselves incarcerated. Through their resistance. The relationships that Carol interpretedas threats. they were governed by conflicting understandings of the surroundinginner-city community and of appropriate survival strategies. the house man." 1994). as I discovered at Alliance. and staff memself. so too did the institutionalpatternof control and contestation. When "tragic"it was for adolescent girls to be deyou become independent and pay for your. Instead they were shaped by contrasting images of and positions in the urban context. their main relationshipswere with their babies and with the state. In this way. "I'll tell you. even their school was located in the basement. They did not agree with Carol's image of their community. they reinforced exactly what Carol fought so hard to undermine." Debra bers frequently employed the "trope of the counters that she is paying for herself with welfare mother"to instill fear in them (Irvine her AFDC check. Taking the Bull by the Horns The institutionalcontext at Alliance gave rise to its own set of gendered messages and norms. their babies. These young women were not in the same kind of relationships as were Carol's girls. Three primarygroups were present at Alliance: the girls." The staff often said how we grind our table food for the babies. which produced its own "cycle ager. "and when the government pays. Alliance was a minimum-security facility whose wards were restricted from coming and going as they pleased. Together they formed a "pattern.They worried most out a jar of baby food to feed her son. AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW it decides. they did not have sustained relations with anyone outside the home. "if you girls . Their parents and their babies' fathers could visit only twice a month. and the state. The contours of this pattern were not determined by an abstract patriarchal conspiracy or male plot. As Debra takes mid of men" for support.

the superstar of the house." The staff members not only lectured the girls about the limits of the government. These two "house themes" permeated the workings of the facility. and she knew she had to work for this. enrolled in evening courses at a nearby beauty school." Thus Alliance set out to disentangle its girls from the state's web. Denise. uninvolved in the girls' activities.It's anarchy."To provide the girls with a lesson on this point. She wanted to show them how importantit was to keep the government out of their lives. There ain't no one in control here. the staff had sent Nikita to Juvenile Hall for a "cool-out" period and held a meeting to evaluate her. the Anglo house director. went back on the birth control pill. they had to figure out what was best on their own. Nobody ever seemed to be in charge. and made arrangements to take her GED. life at Alliance was fairly chaotic." When the staff evaluated the girls." The others agreed but believed that the real problem was her laziness and passivity. One of the girls. As they discussed her. The staff was impressed by the call and by her ability to "take the bull by the horns. "The government doesn't owe you much. and that's good sometimes. Each day she gave the girls fake money if they followed the school rules. She promised that she would start "working the program"if they took her back. In explaining the program. the staff tried to break the "cycle of institutional dependency" by manipulating the girls' relationships with their children." As she lectured. Nikita called from Juvie to put in a few words on her own behalf."She was tired of the girls' constant assertions of their rights and what the government owed them. . held a special two-week social studies class on the concept of "limited government. this lack of centralized control was intended to foster independence: Because no one told the girls what to do." Within minutes they decided to accept her back. she told the girls that she did not want them to become accustomed to "being taken care of by the government. Debra. The program at Alliance was structuredto encourage both attributes:The girls moved up a series of "steps" when they did anything that the staff considered importantin preparingthem to lead independent lives upon release. took the GED exam. Debra disagreed: "We got all these people saying different stuff and telling us to decide. the staff did this mainly through the organization of everyday life. For example. Maria. It's no dictatorship. they could do more or less as they pleased." Although these programs illustrate the staff's attempts to promote initiative. called "Brennan Bucks. She didn't want to give up her baby. Rachel. They had to choose to do the right thing.THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE don't stop actin' a fool. but also relayed their message by continually trying to instill initiative and independence in the girls. Rachel was looking for an example of a dictatorship and suggested Alliance. stated this situation clearly during the lecture on limited government." In preparationfor her release she began to look for a job. Every Friday the girls used their "Bucks" to buy cheap goods." to promote initiative. never gave the girls their AFDC checks directly or told them where the money went. When they asked her. the "problem"girls were those whom the staff considered lazy or aloof. During my time at Alliance. which Rachel purchased for them. found childcare for her son. As long as the girls remained in the facility. how this was a hard-fought "American right. This account leads to the final component of Alliance's socialization for independence-the babies. the staff deployed numerous tactics to accomplish this. and went on job interviews. Like Carol Jackson. you're gonna be welfare mothers forever. Rachel said she wanted them to learn to respond to "materialincentives just like the rest of us in the normal world. Although two staff members were always on duty. One way was to present the young women with abstractargumentsabout the government's limitations. In addition to the incentive programs and the organization of everyday life. was applauded for "getting her act together. they usually worked in the back office. On the other hand. they used independence and initiative as criteria. created her own program. girls moved up the steps when they found childcare. the teacher. To an outsider like 769 myself. Rachel Brennan. of their own volition. According to the director. the schoolteacher. One staff member noted that Nikita was tough and "pissed off. I never saw a staff member force the girls to attend school or house meetings.

Charlene made this argument explicitly in a house meeting devoted to Rachel's resignation. the girls refused altogether to work. She tried to alter this situation with her Brennan Bucks program. In theory Maria had broken the phone rule. however. "Look at that. and to utilize the babies to foster initiative. They spoke in these terms. in the end. They told Maria that she could spend six more months at Alliance or take her chances before the parole board." Infuriated. In this way the staff adhered to what Nathanson (1991:159) called a "redefinition of female adolescence" by presenting this time in the girls' lives as a preparatory period for self-sufficiency. In short. Eventually the director gave in and provided childcare. Alliance's aim was to undercut the girls' dependency on institutions. This was precisely what worried the staff membersand informed their agenda. and AFDC recipients.770 They frequently told the girls that it was impossible to be a good mother while relying on state institutions for support. "all their talk of bein' self full"-and they used every possible chance to relay this to the staff. From my first day at the home. it was clear that they viewed themselves in an "us versus them"relationshipwith Alliance. Hence Alliance's agenda could be viewed as potentially empowering. Finally she demanded that the babies be removed from the classroom. Then Rachel went on strike. The other girls saw this as poetic justice and immediately made the connection between her escape and the house theme of initiative. Therefore their potential for institutional reliance was greater. They did so by exhibiting the initiative and independence thatAlliance sought to foster in them. Until you learn this. They were connected more closely to state institutions. Maria really 'took the bull by the horns' didn't she?" As Debra remarked to Liz. Women care for others. they were reprimandedwith forced childcare. and less to individual men. the babies came to the classroom with the girls. was awaiting her release. she escaped with her baby through a basement window. When I arrivedat Alliance. The girls were distressed about Rachel's departure and saw it as further proof that "no one in the world cares about us and that's why we are so fucked up. was an enclosed. One week before her parole hearing.It was unsuccessful. As Tonya said to Rachel. minimum-security facility. Furious.for example. Problems arose when Rachel sensed that the girls worked less when the babies were around. They found the house themes oppressive-or. The battle over childcare was an example. but they saw nothingemancipatoryabout it. This battleground. they had discovered that she had made phone calls from the front office. This time. the girls saw it otherwise. In doing so. the Alliance girls viewed the staff's agenda as not viable and . This concern prompted them to organize the facility. "There was no laziness last night at Alliance! She sure did learn good from Alliance. It could be interpreted as an attempt to socialize the girls against the currents of public patriarchy. Alliance's attempt to undercut their institutional reliance set into motion its own resistance-a resistance that also taught the girls. Charlene yelled: "You are women. the staff's agenda was shaped by the institutional setting." At Alliance." Just like Carol's girls. Maria. rewarding the girls materially for placing education before reproduction. Rachel claimed that this was the girls' punishment. She did neither: The night before her original release date. Like Carol Jackson's expectations for her girls. as Mildred put it. because they refused to alter theirpriorities. These young women were mothers. precisely what Alliance wanted them to unlearn. although in practice everyone knew that the phone rule was flexible. Babies must be cared for. the staff enforced the rule rigidly. Once again. You have babies. you'll be doin' a lot of crying in your lives. Brown 198 1). however. and never was found. Bring Back Those Men in Suits The girls at Alliance were quite aware of the message that the staff was sending them. official wards of the court. they warned these "manless" AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW young women of the risks involved in replacing their fathers/homeboys with an "impersonal pyramid of men" (Burnstyn 1983:64). the girls had to earn motherhood.of female dependence on men as a collective embodied in the state (Boris and Bardaglio 1983. the staff membersconfrontedher. to create miniprograms. however. They used the incident to relay messages to the staff.

when the staff denied Tonya a new baby blanket. They were at a disadvantage in the "heterosexual marketplace"that Carol Jackson described as characteristic of the inner city." Furthermore. they used welfare. a Welfare Club. 771 they were the sites upon which the girls mobilized their resistance to the staff. they did not protest by appropriatingmen or their femininity. Instead they were prompted to resist. To annoy her. The talk is OK for them but not for us. All of them had family problems and repeatedly had been cast out of their homes. It may be that these were Carol's girls in a few was not surprising that the girls were angered by the staff's desire to steer them away from a reliance on the state. Probably the girls did not talk about welfare at the meetings. Thus whenever she raised the subject. the girls were preoccupied with the checks. which clearly was scripted by the form of control exerted over them. The girls also used welfare in a more symbolic way. Moreover. they spoke of how they planned to be on welfare for the rest of their lives. and Tonya-a family forever"). Not by chance. like Tonya. First and foremost. fights erupted when they asked for accounts of the money. which originated in a house meeting at which the girls were accused of being too dependent. Therefore their ability to "make it on their own" was limited at best. they appropriatedthe politically loaded "trope of the welfare mother" to protest. They carried more baggage than others when they entered this marketplace. it's easy for Rachel to say we can do it on our own. Tonya always sang "I'm on welfare and it's gonna take care of me forever" to the tune of a popular rap song. Many told stories of being left by their homeboys when they became pregnant. The staff withheld them to ensure that the girls did not grow accustomed to being cared for by the government. Unlike Carol's girls. . In one case. They still dreamed about these men (many. For the same reason. Tonya started singing her welfare song. They also regulated the staff by making them account for every penny. Alliance made it a "crime" to ask for help. The social worker uncomfortably agreed to do so. She don't need no help and says we don't either. "It's like they don't know what's up. the name was the important thing. In effect. Thus they did not embrace Alliance's demand that they break their institutional dependence and "free" themselves from AFDC. continued to doodle mottoes like "Big Ken. They aren't with us. In Tonya's words. but the girls did not think she was preparing them well enough for the test. Apparently when the social worker arrived.These girls had at their disposal other state institutions and their babies. they were teen mothers-young women with small dependent children.THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE undesirable. they asserted that it was their money. For instance. It was a sign of their resistance. they were Carol's girls once the men had disappeared. Debra interjected. but then it materialized. the heterosexual bonds that Carol's girls defended so militantly were problematic for these girls. and thus infuriated the girls. Rachel spent a great deal of time persuading the girls to take the GED. They had babies. Tonya demanded that the woman receive an account of her checks. She asked the social worker to come to Alliance and investigate. First. AFDC checks were a major source of conflict at Alliance. little Kenny. When they grew angry at the staff.Thus it was harder for them to maneuver into the kinds of relationships that Carol's girls entered and exited. to the outrage of the staff. Such resources were not available in the Alliance environment."As Lakishasaid. The staff never did so. At the beginning of each month. but basically they were without men. they should form a club. They were mothers. The leading example of such appropriation was the girls' Welfare Club. Alliance's continual proclamations that they should do so were quite threatening. To understandwhy.she took the staff by surprise. In doing so." Debra observed. In defiance. At first it was a joke. She gots all her degrees. "Yaknow. They were also poor and uneducated. Hence these survival networks were not an option for most of them. These were the two sites of control. they told her they didn't need to take it because AFDC would care for them. They held secret meetings. and this was "all messed up. Most were women of color. Tonya called the welfare office to report a stolen check. reminding the others that they were in the same predicament. one must attend to who these girls were.

it's slave labor. "I can't do that. and Mildred each said they wanted to have two more babies. The girls met with them privately to air their complaints. The girls looked on. once released. thereby inverting the staff's ordering of their priorities. After the CYA men left. to resist. she called CYA to report a series of rule violations. they said "I'll call the Men in Suits if you don't watch it. After her escape from Alliance. they utilized exactly what Alliance tried to discourage. the outcomes of the two regimes were strikingly similar. She claimed that this provided them with the chance to "do it on their own. Forget it. at the collective meeting. This context produced its own distinct gender regime. They told the staff that the way they ran the facility was "uncool" and. the girls refused to reveal to the nervous staff what they had told the men.I asked them what they planned to do. One morning. more important. the official scolded the staff for making the girls do chores. they embraced precisely what Alliance wanted to undermine. they had done so. In addition. just as the staff sent its message to them. Yet despite these differences. they told her they had not worked because "Kenny was crying" or "Chris needed a bottle." When the investigator arrived. In saying this. When Rachel returned." or "Those Men in Suits liked us. This was made clear in my last interaction with the girls on the day of my departure. didn't we?" Indeed. Like Carol's girls. Mildred secretly admitted to me that she had called. Tonya. at Alliance. The girls communicated this message through the babies. she met alone with the girls and followed them around the home. Hence. which centered around state dependency and reliance." Their message to the staff was clear: Sometimes Men in Suits can help. Without fail. The girls were thrilled when four CYA officers arrived the next day. Mildred said that babies made her feel "somethin' special. smiling triumphantly." Yet the deeper message was their contempt for the house theme of initiative. A girl in the home had made an anonymous call. just as the staff appropriatedthe babies to relay their message. In the end. the Alliance girls evaluated the agenda and found it threatening. the girls were learning how to utilize state institutions for their own ends-not what Alliance wanted to teach them. the girls were thrilled. it was forced labor and hence illegal. After the meeting Nikita whispered to me: "We done told Alliance today. another state institution. Later. the girls mo- AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW bilized their babies to fight the staff. forms of control were connected to forms of resistance. In effect. this facility and its relationship to the surrounding community were different. my baby needs me" was the most common line I heard." Tonya planned to con- . especially when the demand pertained to proving they were "self full.772 The girls also used CYA. She was seven months pregnant and angry that the staff made her do chores: "They say all this shit about being self full." This scenario was played out most often in the classroom. Finally. When the staff did something the girls did not like. listening to their complaints. in at least two ways. this department called the staff. Yet the pattern at Alliance was quite different from that involving Carol and her girls. they also emphasized what they had: their ability to mobilize Men in Suits. They used their babies to reassert a definition of themselves as mothers above all else. all were men in suits. and they were sending an investigator to check the facility. The staff was furious. the girls called on the County Rules and Regulations Department to come to their rescue. In response. they turned to their babies at these times. Lakisha. the welfare office. and the girls played on this fear. that they could mobilize other state forces to come to their aid. and their babies. When the girls were angry. One way in which Rachel tried to foster initiative in the girls was to give them an assignment and then leave the room. The staff feared CYA because of its power to close down the home. they threatened to call CYA. The context was not the same. The legacy of the Men in Suits lived on at Alliance. reporting a series of licensing violations." The girls knew that these were tests. moments when they had to demonstrate that their priorities were in order. During the ensuing cleaning frenzy. the girls proclaimed that the staff's demands were secondary to those of their babies. I'm gonna ask them to come back. Maria was the only girl who followed through with this threat.

Piven 1990). state examined here. Second. 1990. the juvenile justice sys.or (for that matter) women's interests in the ally constituted and contested by female cli. by moving to the level of state agents.mine it-a state that attempts to reproduce ance with its battles against institutional de. it was listening.forms of these interactions. I reveal how the state is a differen. Finally.female dependence while women use state rependence and "public"patriarchy. Moreover. Alli. These then inform their agendas for their clients. prompt probationofficers to attack "private" patriarchy by demanding independence CONCLUSION from men.state.1988. a dual.become more attuned to the many possible line agenda to impose on women. the girls' socialization is a netem. for the Alliance staff. In an attempt to restore agency bation Department is not only different from to feminist state theory.independence from state bodies. mascu. My analy. At the same time.this is not imposed on female clients in a vailing macro-level feminist theories of the "top down" fashion.In this way. This distate practice. while fruitful to conceive of the state as fragmented female clients defend those relations. singular study are the reverse: State actors try to un"structure. First.on the state.those described in recent feminist scholarship tus.light the unintendedeffects of the state's genance is not merely an alternative to CYA but der regime and the interactive quality of stands in opposition to it. laughing. these scholars highJuvenile Hall but is in conflict with it. and less fixed in sis unearthed multiple agendas for women. They They had learned well. differs in important ways from pre.sources to organize or gain power in the alisms problematize prevailing conceptions home. the patternsof regulation and a permissive apparatusgoverned by discipline and rules.These du. the forms of and resistance captured here diverge from control exerted over clients vary by appara. that vision includes forever. encompasses state institutions.women's relations with that regime (Gordon ism exists within this larger dualism. the product of institutiontwo distinct apparatusesoperate: a coercive ally fashioned modes of control and contesapparatusgoverned by punishmentand force. with various sites of control and though female clients are strategic actors in my attack "public" patriarchyby insisting on lation to women. together they constitute patterns. The Pro.more characteristic of the state's relation to tion the socialist feminist understanding of women.fight back by appropriating and inverting tiated body composed of multiple institu.that feminist theory take these patterns as graphic data presented here call into ques.them. I complicate classic models vergence should not be read as suggesting of the state's gender regime. "I'm ticular visions of what endangers women. it suggests that we should the state as an entity with a uniform. ent forms of control characterize even the Overall the patternsof interactionarticulated "alternative"apparatus. as presented in this ethnog. on the other."They suggest that it may be more dercut "patriarchal"social relations. they strategize to salvage their resistance. These state actors' agendas are shaped by the institutional terrains on which they conceptualized as interactive in yet another work-terrains that provide them with par. Moreover. checking to see if Rachel men and homeboys. In this way. The ethno. The particular "arm"of the connected. Rather.THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE 773 tinue the Welfare Club on the outside. Differ. I propose here that the state be ents. raphy. by shifting the feminist focus to "dependent"relations with the state. They evaluate these messages and practice. Regulation and resistance are closely tional contexts. On the one side is in their work consist of a state that tries to Carol Jackson with her attacks on homeboys advance male dominance as women underand "private"patriarchy. Mildred agreed. the girls are active state.sense-as an institution that itself is situated ."she sang. our notions of the state's interests in women and demonstrated how they are institution. is characterized by a dualism in which gotiated process. Aland layered. Alli. Morgen 1990. tation. on welfare and it's gonna take care of me For probation officers. They also oppose one another. Yet the patterns I discovered in this of the state as a homogeneous. and the staff of the group home The conceptualization of the state and its re.

they enabledme to examinewhetherthe institutionalsetting affected the gender messages relayedto female clients. In the morning I attendedthe girls' classes and assisted them with their schoolwork. Carol Jackson's evaluation of the inner city and what endangered her girls within it led to her preoccupation with homeboys and other mothers. Likewise. allowing me to comparetheirapproachwith Carol's and to ensure that my findings were generalizable. I chose to work in the juvenile armof this system because I believed it would provide a clearerview of this socialization process. Once a week I accompaniedthem on tripsto parks.By the end of the nine months.forthcoming)and "FromProud Workerto GoodMother:Gender. Appendix. I predictedthat the state's articulationand imposition of gender norms would be most evident when applied to young women. I began my researchin the ProbationDepartment by conductinginterviews with the head of the division. I selected the ProbationDepartmentandAlliance on the basis of several criteria. between state actors and female clients. I was immersed in the everyday life of the home. vol. it was an ideal context for examining the state's gender regime. including the director. In this way. both control and resistance are shaped by the urban context. Because the criminaljustice system intervenesdirectly in people's lives to transform"deviant"women into "acceptable"women. the house manager. The first type of work put me in contact with other POs. At Alliance I conducted initial interviews with those in charge of the facility. pp. and the teacher.and shops.candidatein theDepartmentof Sociologyat the Universityof California.774 in a larger social context.the State. From the onset. Berkeley. 113-50).D. the agencies were located in the same "alternative"juvenile justice apparatus. In these interviewsI discoveredthat Carol Jacksonwas responsiblefor the female clientele. Carol's girls' understandings of their communities and what was empowering in them produced their defense of femininity and heterosexuality. The patterns of control and resistance outlined in this study were not examined in isolation from the larger inner-city community. The second type of work placed me in contact with Carol's clients.libraries. I began by sitting in on their meetings andsimply observinghow they interacted. she dealt with the great majorityof girls on probation andgave lectureson how to approachfemale clients. My duties were twofold: I organized Department events and assisted Carol with her caseload. On the other side. At the same time. Identity. Verdery. Power. 14. Burawoy and K."in Ethnographies of Transition (edited by M. I began to work as an academictutor for the young women.Herdissertationexaminesthe gender regimes of three successive Hungarian welfaresystemsfromtheinceptionof statesocialism to thepresent.and two probation officers. LynneHaneyis a Ph. rehabilitativeapproach to clients. the material realities of Alliance's girls' lives generated their insistence on the usefulness of Men in Suits and babies. I also maintained . corneringthem before and after appointmentsand taking them to a nearbyrestaurant. Only by uncovering and AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW contextualizing these different positions can one understand their interactions within these institutions.Because these agencies had distinct organizationalstructures. the feminist conceptualizationof the state that I have proposed here would work on multiple levels and would allow us to examine interactions among state apparatuses.With time I became closer to the clients. These patterns of control and resistance are propelled by conflicting views of the community and of appropriate survival strategies within it.Herpublicationsinclude "But WeAre Still Mothers:Genderand the Construction of Need in PostsocialistHungary. These similarities and differences made them perfect comparativecases for my theoretical interests.1994.the head counselor. In the afternoon I "hungout" with them in the living room of the home. After these interviews. Alliance's understanding of this community and what threatenedits girls there gave rise to its focus on welfare and state dependency. These patterns are deeply embedded in and responsive to that surrounding community. and Regime Changein Hungary"(Frontiers.She has conductedempiricalresearch on genderand the state in the UnitedStatesand in EasternEurope. I had met nearly all of Carol's clients and had observed hundredsof meetings between her and these young women. Thus I decided to work with Carol as her assistant. and Intervention in the Field: The Limits of Reflexivity This ethnographyis based on fieldworkI conducted from Februaryto November 1992 in a juvenile ProbationDepartmentandin Alliance. the Departmentsupervisor. and both took a long-term. Within the juvenile system. a grouphome for incarceratedteen mothers. and between state institutions and the communities surrounding them.My decision to research these state agencies was motivated by theory.

Sandoval 1991). As a result. This rethinkingalso spawned discussions of the relationshipbetween power and knowledge:how the power embeddedin the researchprocess may be located in the "knower's"position. however.In the home. although they. Moreover. haven't you learned anythingfrom me?" Thus." Our ability to connect on these planes placed the facility in a new light for me. "Girl. My mother was herself a teen mother. and hence urged me to allow them to "gaze back"at the ethnographicproduct. the ethnographer. CarolJacksonspoke almostentirelyaboutinner-city life."It was obvious that no matterwhat I did. age was also an importantsocial location. Rose 1994). my class backgroundwas at the center. Such an analysis would be too simplistic. who struggledfor much of my childhood. referring to people and places of which I was ignorant. the dynamics of the facility andthe ethos of autonomycolored our positions.I felt that I was becoming whiter and whiter as each minute passed. They wonderedwhethermy interpretationsmeshed with these women's. The most common methodological questions raisedby the sociologists and feminist scholarswho have commented on this ethnography revolved aroundtwo issues.Thus my lens was partial. First. the androcentricbias of much traditionalsocial science would be overcome (Hartsock 1987. moving continually between "them"and "us.THE STATE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF MALE DOMINANCE contactwith the eight staff members. the girls ignored me. age allied me with her clients. Carol always drew on this fact. as on the day when Caroland I interviewed an AfricanAmericangirl at Juvie. ThereI engaged in a balancingact. some questioned why I." as Lakisharemarked. although I was connected to the ivory tower. using the "we"to referonly to herself. throughoutthe fieldwork. some were also self-proclaimed"radicalfeminists. both relatedto reflexivity. they spoke to each other in rap and refusedto respondto me. numerousproblemssurfaced. our differences were apparent.By the end of my stay. Race and class seemed very often to be determinant. I was often subjectedto her counseling. however. too. Second. at the end of the day. I was also just a "girl. and it would be easy for me to analyze how these "locations"shaped my work. however. she would associateme with this tower. my interestin themandmy maternalyearningsmade . telling me that it was why I could "see so much"and "understand. Both of these calls for increasedreflexivity must be understoodin relationto developmentsin feminist methodology. Because I was only slightly olderthanher clients. I was devastated when.She referredcontinually to the academic "ivory tower" and how it was "out of touch. It would be naive to think that I ever transcended these divisions. In this context. and thus encouraged me to situate my knowledge claims socially. she yelled. Because I never pressuredthe girls to be "self full. Early feminist methodological work was premised on the notion of a "woman's standpoint"-the assumptionthat if we elicited our social inquiriesfromthe actualitiesof women's lives andemployedmoreclosely connectedresearchpractices."Many staff members were well educated. Otheraxes were central with the girls. flexible. As I moved to the level of practice. the feminist move towardgreater reflexivity is quite understandable. I overheardthem discussing how I tipped the balance of power in the staff's favor: "Theygots more of them than we got of us now.On my first day.The girls frequently spoke in rap. as Nikita once said. and grew cloudierwhen we went for walks in the neighborhood. Haraway 1991. and thus gained a sense of the full rangeof relations in the home. the recognition that women are situatedon multiple axes which intersect to unite and divide us.seem to be absent from the text.I found it almost impossible to situate my knowledge claims socially because I occupied so many positions in the research. not simply in the knower's gender (Stacey 1988).It was also contextual. This assumption subsequently was problematizedby what Harding (1991) called the "fall of UniversalWoman"-that is. Many feminist scholars then suggested that we "socially situate"our knowledge claims by locating the positions from which we speak(Fonow andCook 1991. they often turnedto me for generational supportin their battles with Carol. her girls. were multiple and changing. 775 From my earliest interactionswith these women. At Alliance. when the babies were around. feminist scholars began to call for increased dialogue between the researcherand the researched. Reinharz 1992." Also. Smith 1987).In the also seems to be a promisingway of addressingthe limitations of early feminist methodologicalwork. to be achieved by exchanging researchproductsandsharinginterpretivepower(Harding 1991). my recognition of the relationship between power and knowledge ultimately convinced me of the danger involved in returningthe text to those I studied.talkingto them aboutthe home andtheirpositions there. WheneverI told her a story she disapprovedof. This led to a rethinking of "woman'sstandpoint"andto the development of mixed.In our first meeting. the initial dividing lines were even sharper. "one of the only bitches in this place who gives a shit about us. and the community. I was attendinghouse and staff meetings." My position was even more uncertainat Alliance. others suggested that I examine how my researchsubjects viewed the work. who fixated on me and glaredat me angrily."At the same time. At othertimes." I was more "in"-or. They wanted to know how my own social backgroundaffected me in the field. With Carol. and partialperspectives(Collins 1991. with graduatetraining. these divisions intersected with others to complicate the picture. At other times it seemed that race was the most important shapingforce.

reflexivity.was I more attunedto the girls' resistances? Maybe. Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. in practice. REFERENCES Abramovitz." Pp. Because of this flexibility." Social Justice 17:153-66. At Alliance I was concernedaboutthe social pow- AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW er of my text. Moreover. "Gender Bias in Juvenile Diversion. their definitions of "us"and "them"varied. 1983." Crime and Delinquency 30:400-14. It might have caused them immediate trouble for calling in the Men in Suits and forming the Welfare Club. In the long run. As a woman who had had negative experiences with the male staff at Juvenile Hall. My position was quite situationalandvariable. 171-84 in Womenof Color in U." Pp. Carol was quite insecure abouther weight. "Black Women in Prison. andreadingabouther girls' mockery could have hurther.With Carol Jackson. and how it might disrupt their lives further. My theorizingthen had strategicpotential for the staff. She has numerousfamily problems and. Carol. Rather.These dynamics appealedto my interestsas a feminist researcherin complicatedways. for all of these reasons. 1981.776 me an "insider"with the girls. New York: Longman. Yet these reservations do not apply to all researchand should not be readas a dismissal of the feminist conceptionof reflexivity.they suggest thatreflexivity be understoodin relationto specific researchsettings. Yet their information could have come back to harmthem. 1988. assures herself that she does well by her "girls.My attemptto be intellectuallydemocraticmight have had unintended consequences. Although I am sure the girls consideredthis possibility before revealing anythingto me. Exposing her to such mockerythen felt like a power move. In the end. was I more sensitive to the divisions in the system? Maybe. I never knew clearly how my "long line of adjectives"affected me in the field. have I repressedculturalstereotypesabout the sexuality of women of color and hence have fixated on this aspect of theirrelationswith the state?I hope not. a move toward greater "reflexivity"seemed neither feasible nor desirable in my fieldwork. 1990. Accordingly. particularlyfor the girls. Thorton Dill. I found it difficult to locate myself socially in my work. Brown. Yet I wonderedwhether she would find this respect in the text. I suggest that it be conceptualizedmore contextually. PA: Temple University Press." And she does so. 1994. edited by I. These complications might not have surfaced had I interacted with only one of these "sides. some contexts draw out certainaspects of our "selves" and mute others. edited by M. 1984. "Mothers. Fathers and Children: From Private to Public Patriarchy. I encountereddifferentproblemswith the second kind of reflexivity: returningmy text to the women I studiedto elicit their reflections on us. Society. All of this is to say that socially situating our knowledgeclaims is not always feasible. buriedbeneaththe descriptions of mocking resistance. "The Transformation of Patriarchy: The Historic Role of the State. These young women revealedmanysecrets to me andcontributed a great deal to my analysis. . Arnold.Caroltakes great pride in her work. MA: South End Press. and the young women. or even particularlyuseful. Regina. even in the name of.It changes with context. did I identify with the Alliance staff and underestimate their control? Maybe. Diamond. Carol. I analyzed their experience in ways not known to them."or had I workedin a field where "us" and "them"were demarcatedmore clearly. Alder. Handingit over. My commitmentto "listening to women's voices" placed me on all sides-on the side of the probationofficers. Boris. Politics and Public Policy. I was concerned with the potentially hurtful consequences of the text.Such an approachwould imply an understandingof reflexivity that recognizes the power dynamics of particular research settings and acknowledges the conditions that can both foster and undermine our attempts to become intellectually democratic. seemed unjustifiable. Philadelphia. to lessen her feeling of failure. Mimi. her commitmentto these young women demands respect. . It was also nearly impossible to determinehow these locations affected my analysis. Baca Zinn and B. the staff of the group home. As the daughterof a teenage mother. and of the social and interpersonal power of my text. 70-93 in Families." Pp.As Thorne(1993) argues. Eileen and Peter Bardaglio. Here I had to consider the interpersonaland social power that my text could wield over these women. They differed even in their understandingsof these alliances and divisions.I was not willing to take the risk. 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