As Germany's cities ballooned in size in the late nineteenth century, new urban technologies expanded the mobility of modern urbanites — except for bourgeois boys. With city neighborhoods taken over by traffic, increasing the danger of injury to children playing in the streets, middle-class youths were drawn indoors and, as a side effect, placed more firmly under adult surveillance. Still, the boys could not be kept inside all the time, and as they walked in the city (to school or to cultural events), these same youths manipulated the bourgeois socialization process. Laying hold of the city in transit, they deviated from the normative parameters set out in official agendas, used their “spatial practices” to reclaim space for themselves within the urban order, and ultimately laid the groundwork for the German Youth Movement and its calls for adolescent autonomy.

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