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“HIV Is God's Blessing”Rehabilitating Morality in Neoliberal Russia$
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Jarrett Zigon

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267626

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267626.001.0001

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Working on the Self

Working on the Self

(p.94) Six Working on the Self
“HIV Is God's Blessing”

Jarrett Zigon

University of California Press

This chapter deals with the particularities of the Church-run rehabilitation process, which emphasizes the need for the rehabilitants to do work on themselves. There is no quick fix for addiction: it is a time-consuming and difficult process of remaking oneself. In this view, a person does not overcome addiction; instead a new, unaddicted person must be made. This is a process that can be accomplished only by means of focused hard work and patience. Although this emphasis on the centrality of the individual is certainly true, a good deal of the success of rehabilitation depends on the work done by the family. It still remains largely a social process. Examining the tension between the individual and the social is vital for proper understanding of the moral approach of the Russian Orthodox Church in their fight against drug addiction and the spread of HIV. Secular therapeutics and traditional soviet practices involved in the process of working on the self are discussed. This mixing makes it clear that the Church-run program cannot be defined by a singular and totalizing morality, but is more productively considered a local moral and ethical assemblage of various aspects of diverse and conflicting moral discourses and ethical practices.

Keywords:   social process, moral approach, secular therapeutics, HIV, ethical practices

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