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

Preliminary abstract: As fatal drug overdoses reach new heights, activists, public health workers, government, and media raise alarm over the new opioid epidemic. Calls for non-penal, treatment-based solutions to substance use join calls for criminal justice reform and an end to mass incarceration. A central imaginary of this new sense of alarm, however, focuses on rural white Americans as the primary victims of prescription drug over-prescription and misuse fueled by socioeconomic stagnation and ‘despair.’ This powerful narrative obscures the urban gender, race, and class politics of shifts and contradictions in the regulatory and carceral regime of the ongoing War on Drugs. Between the political rhetoric of reform and the on-the-ground realities, what new geographies of carceral control are being enabled and mobilized under the guise of ‘alternatives to incarceration’? And how do these ‘alternative’ carceral practices imagine and shape social relations that coalesce around key categories of identity? Beginning with a women’s drug treatment facility in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, this ethnographic project follows clients through the institutional network of court-mandated drug treatment–positioned as a softer alternative to incarceration–to investigate how ‘womanhood’ is produced through contemporary efforts to control and rehabilitate drug users within legal, medical, and lay discourses and institutions of criminality, drug use, and recovery. It asks how women’s-only rehabilitation programs and their ancillary institutions appropriate and remake ‘gender knowledge’ to induce commitments to various modes of gendered selfhood as a means to recovery.