Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9768

Approve Date

October 25, 2018

Project Title

Eisenberg-Guyot, Nadja, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Gendering Intervention: Geographies of Addiction, Recovery, and Reform in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Jeff Maskovsky

NADJA EISENBERG-GUYOT, then a graduate student at City University of New York, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2018 to aid research on ‘Gendering Intervention: Geographies of Addiction, Recovery, and Reform in New York City,’ supervised by Dr. Jeff Maskovsky. During an historic re-articulation of incarceration in New York City, this project explored how gender, race, and class have been transformed at the intersection of criminal legal system reform and the overdose crisis. Focusing on women’s experiences with court-coerced drug treatment, this research exposed how ‘alternatives to incarceration’ programs trap working-class women who use drugs in complex webs of surveillance and punishment concealed by talk of decarceration, racial justice, and recovery. Through ethnographic research in NY drug courts and a residential drug treatment program in Queens, archival research, and correspondence with currently incarcerated people, this project argues that practices and ideologies of ‘rehabilitation’ simultaneously secure a racialized class available for perpetual carceral-therapeutic capture and secure whiteness as magnanimous, civilizing, intervening force, always overcoming the (past) violence of its instantiation. Traveling across sites of state violence, the research reveals how medical and criminological, therapeutic and punitive approaches to the management of ‘substance use’ as a social problem are deeply intertwined in the ‘carceral-therapeutic state.’ Countering the individualizing mandate of rehabilitation, women in rehab articulate visions of healing grounded in interdependence, collective safety, and an end to structural violence, not individual responsibility. Thus, the lives of criminalized women reveal durable practices refuting the liberal project of reform, which seeks to violently subjugate and domesticate those it purports to transform.