The Pastoral Clinic takes us on a penetrating journey into an iconic Western landscape—northern New Mexico’s Española Valley, home to the highest rate of heroin addiction and fatal overdoses in the United States. In a luminous narrative, Angela Garcia chronicles the lives of several Hispano addicts, introducing us to the intimate, physical, and institutional dependencies in which they are entangled. We discover how history pervades this region that has endured centuries of material and cultural dispossession, and we come to see its heroin problem as a contemporary expression of these conditions, as well as a manifestation of the human desire to be released from them. Lyrically evoking the Española Valley and its residents through conversations, encounters, and recollections, The Pastoral Clinic is at once a devastating portrait of addiction, a rich ethnography of place, and an eloquent call for a new ethics of care.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: American Pastoral
2. The Elegiac Addict
3. Blood Relative
4. Suicide as a Form of Life
5. Experiments with Care
Conclusion: A New Season
Angela Garcia is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University.
"Timely, disturbing, and luminously written, The Pastoral Clinic is anthropology at its best, bringing into view a devastating piece of reality, highlighting larger processes and human singularities, and calling for a new public and ethics of care."—João Biehl, author of Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment
"Garcia calls for a new ethics of care for heroin addicts, exposing the insufficiency and lack of continuity of rapidly privatizing faith-based services for the rural poor. Her heartfelt ethnography of the geography of addiction in New Mexico reveals how formerly agricultural communities and families find themselves painfully embedded in a land of dispossession and displacement with an unresolvable past, and an unlivable present."—Philippe Bourgois, author of Righteous Dopefiend
"Angela Garcia has expanded the roots and basis of addictions to the great losses—personal, cultural, economic, of birthright and land—that few would dare to explore. I've sought a book like this for years, addressing my own addictions and those of the young men and women I've worked with for decades. A formidable thinker, a wrench-in-the-works activist inside and out of the industry, Angela understands that addictions are not a 'always has been and always will be' fate, but a collective, individual, and even 'intimate,' funneling into the web. And how the path toward healing, reconciliation, and wholeness is in the land, in the hand, and the capable heart of every addict and broken community."—Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA
Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, Society for Humanistic Anthropology
Exceptional First Book Award, PEN Center USA
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