Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationHarvard U.
Grant numberGr. 9702
Approve DateOctober 5, 2018
Project TitleKarandinos, George, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Drug Treatment Courts and the Biocarceral Contradictions of the Opioid Crisis.' supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman
GEORGE KARANDINOS, then a graduate student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2018 to aid research on “Drug Treatment Courts and the Biocarceral Contradictions of the Opioid Crisis,” supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman. Drawing on ethnographic research on an open-air heroin, crack, and cocaine selling block in inner-city Philadelphia, this dissertation focuses on the intersection of criminal justince involvement, poverty, violence, disability, care, and biological citizenship to explore how processes of private accumulation extract profits from and through the bodies of the poor even as their capacity for formal wage labor becomes increasingly superfluous to the needs of capital. In particular, the dissertation examines rising rates of physical and psychiatric disability qualifying poor residents for public assistance as a partial exception to the broader retrenchment of less-selective forms of welfare that powerfully intersects with the corporate interest to pharmaceuticalize socially produced suffering, as is evident in the rapid growth of the markets for opioid painkillers and psychiatric medications. To understand these processes, this dissertation proposes a theory of “accumulation through citizenship” that renders visible a method by which claims on the state made in the name of vulnerable populations are manipulated by private interests for financial gain while also facilitating partial access to otherwise restricted state resources for the poor. This dissertation argues that this concept is consequential both for understanding new dynamics of accumulation in an increasingly post-wage-labor era as well as the neoliberalization of citizenship that places commodity consumption at the center of political belonging.