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Keeping busy when there's nothing to do: Labor, therapy, and boredom in a Puerto Rican addiction shelter

Parker, CM; (2021) Keeping busy when there's nothing to do: Labor, therapy, and boredom in a Puerto Rican addiction shelter. American Ethnologist , 48 (3) pp. 301-313. 10.1111/amet.13029. Green open access

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Abstract

At an addiction shelter called La Casita, in Puerto Rico, male residents espouse an ethic of busyness. Initially, La Casita's ideology of moralized work patterns and time discipline seems like a throwback to the 19th-century factory floor: a tool of market discipline. But a closer look at residents’ experiences reveals that busyness has less to do with capitalist subject formation than with finding an alternative way of living when one is excluded from the labor market. If the capitalist project turns on the productive commodification of time, La Casita's work ethic—despite official avowals to the contrary—aims to convert unproductive time into an ascetic practice of ceaseless self-work. Though not always successful, keeping busy becomes a way for residents to carve out a meaningful way of living from an overabundance of time. [labor, work ethic, boredom, time, addiction treatment, Puerto Rico].

Type: Article
Title: Keeping busy when there's nothing to do: Labor, therapy, and boredom in a Puerto Rican addiction shelter
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/amet.13029
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/amet.13029
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10181924
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