Intimacy, Time, and Scarcity: Drug-Involved Women Account for Secretly Withholding Financial Capital in Violent Intimate Relationships
AbstractResearch on the intimate relationships of drug-involved women has characterized these women either as passive victims of male violence and exploitation or as instrumental actors who maintain intimate relationships merely for the financial benefits they provide. This dichotomous depiction fails to capture the complexity of women’s accounts of such intimate relationships. Drawing on in-depth interviews with a group of poor, inner-city, largely African American and Puerto Rican women with a history of drug addiction and violent intimate relationships, this article looks at the accounts women offer for secretly withholding financial capital from their partners. Taking a constructionist approach, it demonstrates that women account for their practices within a normative context of gender relations by withholding capital to address the changing financial needs of the couple over time. In so doing, women provide themselves with a needed sense of order and continuity, what Anthony Giddens calls ontological security. This article adds to our understanding of how drug-involved women’s changing orientations to time may impact their constructions of their intimate relations. Implications for future research are discussed.