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Title: A non-traditional ethnographic study into crack cocaine cultures in an area in the North East of England
Author: McGovern, Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 7493
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2010
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Heavy-end drug use is a widely studied topic, however much of the research within the field considers the phenomenon from perspectives of individual or social pathology, devoid of any pleasure or meaning-making potential for the user. In order to gain rich understanding of the local heavy-end crack cocaine culture, this thesis utilises a methodology of ‘non-traditional ethnography’ wherein my ‘player’ role as a drug treatment practitioner replaces the traditional approach of ‘insider’ within ethnographic research. This positioning compliments the in-depth interviews which I have conducted with 25 heavyend crack cocaine users from an area of the North East of England. Despite the area being believed to be largely unaffected by crack cocaine, an established and evolving local crack cocaine market was found to exist. The market and distribution networks were found to be extremely complex and multi-faceted and as much a social market as an economic market. In contrast to the image of the ‘powerless addict’, users were found to often be calculated consumers, who had developed sufficient knowledge and skill to negotiate their way around this alternative consumer culture. Indeed, the development of finely honed skills was a key theme throughout the study, resulting in the application of Stephen Lyng’s edgework concept. The development of this alternative conceptual vocabulary is found to have significant implications for understanding heavy-end crack cocaine use and crack cocaine treatment approaches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available