The ecstasy of consumption : the drug ecstasy as a mass commodity in a global market
This thesis is an examination of the drug, ecstasy. The central objective was to investigate the people who used the drug, where they used it and how it was dealt. In pursuit of this I undertook two empirical pieces of work, a series of interviews and an ethnography. The interviews were of two sorts, firstly a set of longitudinal interviews of middle class ecstasy users, first contacted when they had just began taking the drug and again when they had stopped. These interviews were supported by one-off interviews with three other groups with similar class backgrounds. The other part of the study was a nine month ethnography of a large London night-club, where the author worked first as part of the bar staff and secondly as part of the security team. This involved participant observation with an occupational culture which is hard to gain access to and observation of an under researched environment. The two studies are linked, as the club was typical of one that my respondents visited and both groups were linked by their intense involvement in drug subcultures. In the first half of the thesis I concentrate on occupational culture and illuminate how criminal activity was structured within the club. In the latter section I concentrate on how the respondents subjectively felt about their drug use. In the last part of thesis I put the rise of ecstasy into the context of British popular culture. On the one hand I argue that it could be posited as part of new dystopian trends, on the other I argue against this, instead characterising its rise as something more positive and more inevitable. However, I conclude that our current methods of regulation are antiquated and unequal.