The Promise: On the Morality of the Marginal and the Illicit
Article first published online: 12 MAR 2014
© 2014 by the American Anthropological Association.
Special Issue: Moral Experience
Volume 42, Issue 1, pages 51–64, March 2014
How to Cite
Garcia, A. (2014), The Promise: On the Morality of the Marginal and the Illicit. Ethos, 42: 51–64. doi: 10.1111/etho.12038
- Issue published online: 12 MAR 2014
- Article first published online: 12 MAR 2014
Moral engagement in the setting of drug addiction is often at odds with prevailing moral discourse and is treated in punitive terms. In this article, I explore how one moral gesture—a promise between a heroin-using mother and daughter—embodies the difficulty and ambiguity of moral experience in the context of addiction and offers insight into how it is profoundly shaped by social processes. By offering a close description of the promise over time, I show how morality is lived through sentiments and practices of care and commitment, which are vulnerable to isolation, punishment, and wounding. The story of the promise thus offers a way to reflect upon morality as the blurring of these different intensities.