Essay Analysis Of Angela Garcia 's The Pastoral Clinic

Essay Analysis Of Angela Garcia 's The Pastoral Clinic

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Angela Garcia’s The Pastoral Clinic is a riveting collection of illness narratives depicting the lives of heroin addicts, specifically in the underserved area of Espanola Valley, New Mexico. She genuinely provides her audience the reality behind a marginalized population that suffers from an addiction crisis as well as the presence of institutional structures that criminalize addicts for their illness. This paper will focus on care and chronicity as two central ideas of Garcia’s work from two lenses of understanding. The first lens is the Foucauldian approach to bio-power and bio-bureaucracies, a mode of analysis that the author utilizes quite sufficiently to support her argument of “restoring the embodied, economic and moral dynamics of addiction” (Garcia 2010, 10 ). This approach illustrates care as a product of chronicity and vice versa. The second lens is Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and resistance, a mode of analysis that Garcia does not incorporate in her work but will expand her argument to include heroin addiction as a social justice issue. Chronicity will be examined as a product of a medical hegemony, while care will be understood as an element of resistance; the two themes will now be regarded as opposing forces that constitute the never-ending victories of hegemonic ideals due to the presence of resistance.
The Lens of Biopower and Bio-Bureaucracies: Care and Chronicity

Angela Garcia explicitly draws upon Foucauldian theory to expand her argument on care and chronicity as well as its impact on the lives of heroin addicts. Bio-power and bio-bureaucracies represent institutional structures that contribute to the formation of addiction as well as the quality of care that an addict will receive for their condition. More...

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...’s fault in the eyes of the law, thus blame is placed upon the individual who fails to uphold the expectations of the judicial system (Garcia 2010, 18). The influence of bio-power and bio-bureaucracies does not stop here; it plays a prominent role in the mindset of heroin addicts.
The chronology of addiction alters the mentality of the afflicted, which inherently dismantles any sense of hope for full recovery. In the medical realm, heroin addiction is described to be a chronic illness and patients embody this term as they are persuaded to accept the permanence of their condition (Garcia 2010, 16). Alma, one of Garcia’s informants, affirms that “her relapse and readmission were simply part of the order of things, simple cause and effect” (2010, 79). This one of the many examples of how a biomedical framework shapes the experiences of a patient in a despairing light.

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