A Moral and Ethical Assemblage in Russian Orthodox Drug Rehabilitation



Abstract Substance abuse rehabilitation the world over is often described as a process of self-transformation. The Russian Orthodox Church rehabilitation program where the research for this article was done takes this process to its extreme by characterizing it as a total remaking of participants' moral personhood. The practice of remaking one's moral personhood is most often referred to as working on oneself. Based on in-depth ethnographic research of this church-run program I analyze the various local, global, and historical moral discourses that uniquely combine to create a particular assemblage. Through this analysis I demonstrate how this assemblage when enacted in the ethical processes of working on the self produces unintended results. This article contributes to assemblage theory by showing the processes by which assemblages may create possibilities for unforeseen consequences.