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The Unusual Suspects: An Educated, Legitimately Employed Drug Dealing Network

Salinas-Edwards, Michael (2017) The Unusual Suspects: An Educated, Legitimately Employed Drug Dealing Network. International Criminal Justice Review, 28 (3). pp. 226-242. ISSN 1057-5677

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Abstract

This article challenges the mainstream discourse that is often used to conceptualize illegal drug supply. In particular, it questions the assumption that drug dealers and the markets they inhabit are a social aberration, restricted primarily to social outsiders operating in socially and economically marginalized communities. Drawing on 6 years of ethnographic fieldwork with 25 “conventional” working-class “lads,” the article makes two overarching arguments. First, that the illegal drug trade is by no means confined to a subset of violent or marginalized drug distributors. Second, that the organization and structure of drug distribution networks can often be entwined into the fabric of conventional routines. The article concludes that criminological research must move toward better conceptualizing the so-called silent majority of drug dealers if we are to accurately reframe the current reductionist drugs discourse.

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