The Confessional Community: Narratives of Violence and Survival in Mexico City’s Anexos

Date: 

Monday, September 9, 2019, 4:00pm

Location: 

Tozzer 203

Speaker: Angela Garcia, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University
Moderator: Ieva Jusionyte, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Studies

Anthropology Series

In the past decade, drug treatment centers called anexos (annexes) have proliferated throughout Mexico. Run and utilized by the informal working poor, anexos’ therapeutic practices blend violence and religiosity, and are widely condemned as aberrant, ineffective and unethical. Based on several years of ethnographic research in Mexico City, this talk situates anexos within a sociohistorical frame, and explores how they conjure up and rework contemporary forms of affliction. It focuses especially on the role of narrative production (e.g. confession, testimony, bodily discipline), which simultaneously reproduce pervasive images of violence and unnatural death, and disclose projects of communitarian survival that are ethically affirmative. In doing so, this talk suggests that anexos constitute an aesthetics and politics of recovery that calls for a rethinking of the therapeutic.

Angela Garcia is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. She is the author of The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession along the Rio Grande, published by UC Press.

Presented in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology