This book is a detailed and close examination of the rave club drugs market as it took place in nightclubs, dance parties, pubs and bars and among friendship networks in London, in the mid to late 1990s. It focuses on the organizational features of drugs purchasing and selling and differentiates anonymous drugs trading in public nightclub settings, from selling among extended networks of friends and others. The stories of different people and friendship groups illustrate the varied drug selling roles and highlight the enterprise and entrepreneurship supporting their involvement.
Told from the perspective of author's own membership in this night-time leisure culture, and embracing the disciplines of urban sociology and cultural criminology, this book contributes to our knowledge of recreational drugs markets and night-time leisure cultures. It will be of interest to students and academics with interests in these fields, as well as the many other people whose lives became a part of this vibrant leisure scene.
'This is a fine study and the investment in ethnographic research over a period of five years in the field yields a rich dividend in data and valuable insight. The theoretical framework employed relates the data to other contemporary approaches to recreational drug consumption in thoughtful and illuminating ways. The energy generated through the adoption of Thatcherite entrepreneurial values is evaluated very well and, as Ward suggests, there are important insights to be gained from examining the ‘business end’ of the dance and rave phenomenon.'
-Paul Manning, University of Winchester, UK, in Crime, Media, Culture vol 8 no 2
1. Introduction: rave club culture. Ethnography. Theoretical foci. Introductory chapter and book content. Defining the terms. The UK rave club culture: an overview. Drug use among clubbing populations. Rave club drugs markets. Theorisations of rave club culture. My entry into studying the rave club culture. Key character introductions 2. Organisation of the London rave club scene. London rave club venues and events. Research sites and venues. Club London: a commercial rave dance nightclub. Lush: a small venue club night. Tylers: a small venue club night. Venus Group parties: a moving dance party organisation. The Pace Bar: a pre-club/DJ bar. Thrash parties: a free-party group. Summary 3. Friendship network drug-use styles. Joe's free-party group and poly-drug use. A group of young Australasians and heavy ecstasy use. Andy: a sustained drug user. Tom's group: an older group of clubber's drug use. Extended clubbing sessions and drug taking. Clubbing and increasing cocaine use. Rave club lifestyles and health problems. Mental ill-health and drug use. Summary 4. Drug selling in London rave clubs. Drug selling in nightclubs. Andy and Joe as organisers of club selling. Summary 5. Social network drug selling. Robin as a social network dealer. Joe as an example of a social network dealer. Mick as a social network dealer. Summary 6. The role of women in drug selling. Women and front-line drug selling. Women as assistants in nightclub drug selling. Drug selling practicalities and assistance. Women assisting in social network selling. Women as free drug recipients. Women as instrumental free-recipients. Women rejecting drug selling partners. Summary 7. Scaling-up and moving out of drug selling. Drug purchasing on behalf of friends. Convenience purchasing and subsidising recreational drug use. Funding habitual drug use. Naive recruitment Drug selling as a money-making enterprise. Looking after friends' drug selling businesses. Obstacles to moving out of drugs dealing. Summary 8. Later lives and conclusions. Later lives. Recreational drug use and 'cultural normalisation'. Ecstasy and enterprise. Social network drugs markets and friendship. Rave drug market organisation. Drugs in clubs and security. Late-modern lifestyles and multiple identities. Where are we ten years on?
Ethnography is a celebrated, if contested, research methodology that offers unprecedented access to people's intimate lives, their often hidden social worlds and the meanings they attach to these. The intensity of ethnographic fieldwork often makes considerable personal and emotional demands on the researcher, while the final product is a vivid human document with personal resonance impossible to recreate by the application of any other social science methodology. This series aims to highlight the best, most innovative ethnographic work available from both new and established scholars.