Social Defeat in Recovery-Oriented Supported Housing: Moral Experience, Stigma, and Ideological Resistance

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8 Scopus citations


Drawing from ethnographic observations and interview data gathered during 6 months working as a home caregiver at the Pinewood Apartments, a recovery-oriented supported housing community in Texas, I demonstrate how stigma and social defeat were moral and social processes that pervaded life for all involved, including service providers. Yet, because of the extreme power differentials that characterized tenant-staff relationships, the assault of stigma and social defeat was much more frequent, existentially intense, and morally and materially consequential for certain tenants, whose attempts at ideological resistance were delegitimized by service providers, including myself, who were backed by the authority of dominant psychiatric and moralistic discourses concerning the inherent irrationality and irresponsibility of people with severe mental illness. Nevertheless, due to the indeterminate and at times inharmonious nature of moral experience, it is not my intention to portray tenants as wholly defeated. Rather, individual tenants often exhibited defeat and resistance simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-678
Number of pages19
JournalCulture, medicine and psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Moral experience
  • Resistance
  • Social defeat
  • Stigma
  • Supported housing


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