Professor Garcia’s work engages historical and institutional processes through which violence and suffering is produced and lived. A central theme is the disproportionate burden of addiction, depression and incarceration among poor families and communities. Her research is oriented toward understanding how attachments, affect, and practices of intimacy are important registers of politics and economy.
Garcia’s book, The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along The Rio Grande (University of California Press, 2010) received awards in anthropology and writing. The Pastoral Clinic explores the relationship between intergenerational heroin use, poverty and colonial history in northern New Mexico. It argues that heroin addiction among Hispanos is a contemporary expression of an enduring history of dispossession, social and intimate fragmentation, and the existential desire for a release from these. Ongoing work in the U.S. explores processes of legal “re-entry” and intimate repair that incarcerated and paroled drug users undertake, particularly within kin networks.
Professor Garcia is currently engaged in research in Mexico City that examines emerging social and discursive worlds related to the dynamics of extreme urban poverty, mental illness and drug addiction in Mexico City, particularly within its peripheral zones. A book manuscript for this work is under contract with Farrar, Straus and Giroux.