Kelly Ray Knight’s addicted.pregnant.poor


By Kelly Ray Knight

Duke University Press, 2015, 328 pages

addicted.pregnant.poor is the sort of ethnography you start reading and don’t put down again until it’s finished.  From its opening pages—where Knight recounts the story of trying to get into the hotel room of Ramona, her extremely high, heavily pregnant and possibly comatose informant—to the last, this is a …


Pharmaceutical Prosthesis and White Racial Rescue in the Prescription Opioid “Epidemic”

This article is part of the series:


A U.S. public discourse of addiction as a disabling psychiatric condition (as opposed to a moral flaw or social deviancy) was codified into Social Security policy in 1972, following its emergence in post-war clinical science and popular media (Conrad & Schneider, 1980; Duster, 1970). In recent years, this discourse has taken divergent forms in policy and media debates surrounding …


Top of the heap: Helen Keane

This article is part of the series:

For this installment of “Top of the heap,” we spoke to Helen Keane, senior lecturer in sociology and gender studies at the Australian National University, who recommended a number of books and articles about addiction, drugs and alcohol.

Helen Keane

As a sociologist in the business of producing knowledge about addiction and drug and alcohol use, I like to read …


The Joy of Giving: Emotion as Rationality in the Moral Economies of Survival

The so-called moral economy of the poor has been defined as the coming together of “a consistent traditional view of the social norms and obligations, of the proper economic functions of several parties within the community” (Thompson 1971: 79).

This particular angle on the construct of the moral economy, deriving primarily from historical, sociological, and anthropological research among “pre-industrialized” and …



Reflex. The images themselves seem to come reflexively.  The clinician’s percussion hammer bouncing off of the knee. A startled infant.  I hadn’t thought much about the idea of the reflex. At least not since the fifth grade, when I had unsuccessfully tried to condition four white laboratory mice to respond either to the sound of a bell or a flashing …