The Hole: An Ethnographic Descent into Mexico City’s Anexos

Angela Garcia, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

Abstract: In the past two decades, informal addiction treatment centers called anexos (annexes) have proliferated throughout Mexico. Run and utilized by low-income communities, these centers utilize captivity, coercion, and violence as instruments for recovery. Based on ten years of ethnographic research in Mexico City, this talk examines anexos’ social and therapeutic practices, exploring how they conjure up, amplify, and rework contemporary forms of affliction and violence in Mexico City’s peripheral neighborhoods. In doing so, it challenges the prevailing view of anexos as a punitive or criminal institution and reveals them to be a microcosm that makes visible the profoundly unequal and precarious world that Mexico is today.

Bio: I am an anthropologist working at the intersection of social and political theory, aesthetics, ethics, medicine, literature, postcolonial and feminist thought. I am interested in how history, inequality and violence play out in multiple social and political spheres, including the domestic and therapeutic.

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