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Gender in American Literature and Culture introduces readers to key developments in gender studies and American literary criticism. It offers nuanced readings of literary conventions and genres from early American writings to the present and moves beyond inflexible categories of masculinity and femininity that have reinforced misleading assumptions about public and private spaces, domesticity, individualism, and community. The book also demonstrates how rigid inscriptions of gender have perpetuated a legacy of violence and exclusion in the United States. Responding to a sense of 21st century cultural and political crisis, it illuminates the literary histories and cultural imaginaries that have set the stage for urgent contemporary debates.
Chapter 7 describes how interwar sociologists, together with social psychologists and legal scholars, swapped out environmental explanations for the biological accounts. In the early postwar decades, the overall explanatory frame remained environmental, though low-income and subcultural factors had, by the 1950s, largely supplanted immigration and urbanization. New philanthropic attention to delinquency helped guide the federal government's adoption of community action programs under the Democratic administrations of the 1960s, with heavy involvement from social scientists. Johnson's twinned Wars on Poverty and Crime were, at least initially, predicated on the postwar consensus that the root causes of crime were social. An uptick in crime and the urban riots put Johnson and the Great Society's social policies on the defensive-as Republicans refined a racialized backlash politics of “law and order.” By the late 1960s a handful of social scientists had launched high-profile attacks on the prevailing criminological mainstream, coinciding with a federally sanctioned turn toward “crime control” and standalone programs in “criminal justice.” Though still prominent, sociologists shared jurisdiction with other social scientists, including a growing and influential contingent of economists. By the 1980s, crime had been sheared off from other social issues, with the field now centered on crime's efficient management.