Abstract

This article centers on the unaccompanied, undocumented minors who are arrested and subject to prosecution for non-violent offenses at the Paris juvenile court in disproportionate numbers. It illustrates the processes whereby public authorities distinguish between the criminal vagrant whose agency and choice makes him more accountable and liable for punishment and the victimized child whose vulnerability and manipulation by others makes him less responsible and eligible for assistance. The article examines the current debates surrounding children and agency within anthropology and asks what the French case adds to our understanding of the changing notions of childhood as well as the newly porous boundaries between the child and the adult.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1518
Print ISSN
0003-5491
Pages
pp. 873-901
Launched on MUSE
2008-12-25
Open Access
No
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