craig ancrum slides.ppt

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craig ancrum slides.ppt

  1. 1. Dealing Drugs or Living Like Mugs? Consumerism, Crime and Status in A North East Town Craig Ancrum Lecturer in Criminology University of Teesside
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ It’s like the bloke next door to me mam, he’s worked on the council for twenty odd years, same crappy job every day, all that time, not even a fucking ford fiesta to show for it, never goes abroad, he’s got fuck all. People like that are just mugs…..” </li></ul><ul><li>(‘Dut’, Cannabis Grower and thief) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Outline of Research <ul><li>Ongoing ethnographic study of an ‘ex-industrial’ North East town </li></ul><ul><li>Study of active criminals. </li></ul><ul><li>Most involved in drugs trade. </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement at various levels </li></ul><ul><li>Major importer/ distributor to ‘tenner’ deal seller </li></ul><ul><li>Varied age group. 17-60 years </li></ul><ul><li>Majority 30s 40s </li></ul><ul><li>Most ‘professional’ criminals, ex-commercial burglars, some had involvement in armed robberies </li></ul><ul><li>Some involved in legitimate as well illegal business practices </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Research originally began for undergraduate dissertation </li></ul><ul><li>MSc dissertation and two co-authored publications </li></ul><ul><li>Hall, Winlow & Ancrum(2005) ‘Radgies Gangstas and Mugs’, in Social Justice Vol.32:1 </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrates on the effects of the imagination and media influences on criminality and identity construction </li></ul><ul><li>Hall, Winlow and Ancrum (Forthcoming 2007) ‘Criminal Identities and Consumer Cultures’ Willan Press </li></ul><ul><li>Now researching for PhD thesis </li></ul>
  5. 5. Aims of research <ul><li>Research will involve a detailed examination of the biographies of a number of individuals living in the North East town of ‘Carville’ </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing on those whose involvement in criminality over a sustained period or seeming ‘dedication’ to criminality could lead them to be described as ‘career criminals’. </li></ul><ul><li>It will examine life histories, relationships, aspirations and everyday experiences of some of those living in what have been termed ‘criminal life worlds’ (Hobbs & Dunnighan,1997 cited in Ruggerio et al 1998 4:289), in an attempt to cast light on the events, decisions and structural influences involved in ‘choosing’ a life of crime. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The principal and over riding purpose of the research is to generate rich and descriptive data, reflective analysis and innovative and ‘fresh’ ethnographic insight into a subject where academic access is usually seriously restricted </li></ul><ul><li>Demystify the conceptions surrounding career criminality </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Within that framework explore the impact of consumerism and a ‘neo-liberal’ free market society on criminality and identity. </li></ul><ul><li>Particular interest in construction of identity and ornamental consumerism </li></ul><ul><li>Fragmented and diverse identities </li></ul><ul><li>Value and appeal of a criminal identity </li></ul><ul><li>Being a ‘dealer’ </li></ul><ul><li>Extent to which identities are being ‘adopted’? </li></ul>
  8. 8. ‘ Carville’ <ul><li>Town on the banks of the Tyne once heavily dependant on shipbuilding and mining </li></ul><ul><li>Decline in the 1970s – 80s due to increasing foreign competition, rising inflation, lack of intervention by government etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Both industries now completely gone </li></ul><ul><li>Problems nicely illustrated by local taxi driver; “first trade dies off because no-one can afford to go out, then 100 ex-shipyard workers apply for cab licences and go into competition with me.” (Rae&Smith, 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Taylor (1997), Hobbs(1995) and Winlow(2001), have all commented on the transforming nature of the death of ‘Britain's economic stalwarts’ on traditional male identities and criminality </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The towns council housing complexes have deteriorated gradually into typical ‘problem estates’ </li></ul><ul><li>Unemployment, high crime rate, vast amount of drug use/abuse, low investment etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Replacement of traditional industrial employment with service based industry </li></ul><ul><li>The social problems of ‘Carville’ earn parts of it a ranking in the top five per cent of deprived areas in the whole country in terms of education health and crime rate. (North Tyneside Council 2003) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>A conceptual underpinning of the study concerns, therefore, the consequences of an area losing its traditional industrial working class stability (Paluski & Walters 1996) and the much debated effects on status and identity that de-industrialisation has engendered (Hall, 1997, 1998; Taylor 1997; Hobbs & Dunnnighan,1997) </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Interest in the effect on ‘Habitus’ (Bourdieu, 1984) </li></ul><ul><li>A set of beliefs and dispositions carried in the body which Bourdieu believed were internalised, but of external construction . </li></ul><ul><li>Has the traditional working class habitus been transformed by the lack of traditional employment opportunities? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it in the process of being changed? </li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately, the kind of qualities that were demanded by heavy industry, a robust physical hardness, strength, bravery, stoicism, fatalism and a ‘hard’ masculinity are all qualities that can be put to good use in a criminal career. </li></ul><ul><li>Does a much more instrumental and commercially motivated ethos now exist in areas like Carville? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Dreams of consumption <ul><li>“ it’ll come. I know it will, I’m going to have the B.M.W , the nice house away from this shit hole, villa in Tenerife, the full fucking monty, definitely. If they can do it I fucking can. It’s cush when you go on the drink with them kind of people. You don’t queue to get in night clubs, pay for drinks or fuck all and there’s always loads of ‘Charlie’ flying about, who fucking wouldn’t want to be able to go on like that?” </li></ul><ul><li>(‘Nipper’, small scale Cocaine dealer, discussing the appeal of being a successful criminal ) </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>This admiration of the successful drug dealer present in many of those involved in the study so far </li></ul><ul><li>The seductions of crime (Katz, 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Great importance placed on being seen to engage in the criminal market place, of ‘being in the know’ </li></ul><ul><li>Being able to afford the symbols of success </li></ul><ul><li>Success relative obviously </li></ul>
  14. 14. Methods <ul><li>Ethnographic study </li></ul><ul><li>Life history analysis </li></ul><ul><li>detailed field observations </li></ul><ul><li>Utilising what Adler termed ‘a delicate combination of both overt and covert roles’ (1985:27) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A curious blending of methodological techniques’ Denzin (1970) </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis following the principles of grounded theory, allowing for emerging theories to present themselves </li></ul>
  15. 15. Access <ul><li>Very privileged level of access </li></ul><ul><li>Grew up and still live in, the area </li></ul><ul><li>Previous knowledge of the group being studied </li></ul><ul><li>Possess the ‘cultural competence’ Bourdieu (1984:2) to achieve a good level of intimacy </li></ul><ul><li>Van Maanen (1998) Adler (1985), Polsky (1971) wrote of the need in good ethnographic study, for the author to ‘be fully immersed’ in the culture of those under scrutiny. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Some initial observations <ul><li>Evidence of adoption of a ‘criminal’ identity in some individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of being able to have the ‘right’ consumer goods. </li></ul><ul><li>Plasma screens, leather settees, cars, clothes, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Kids/wives adorned with gold jewellery </li></ul><ul><li>Carrying two mobiles </li></ul><ul><li>Some disdain, mocking of those who work in low paid unrewarding occupations </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of ‘show’ and looking as if you are doing well </li></ul><ul><li>Work per se not always frowned upon, working for yourself or highly paid work held in some esteem </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Some in the study operate in both legal and illegal markets successfully </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement in the drugs market seen by some as best means for achieving ‘success’ and status </li></ul><ul><li>Some violence associated with drug markets but often very ‘civilised’ </li></ul><ul><li>Violence appears to be more common at bottom end of market </li></ul><ul><li>Rarer in upper levels but often more serious when it does occur </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>The most frequently traded illegal commodities in the area seem to be Cocaine and Cannabis, especially ‘Skunk’ </li></ul><ul><li>Massive rise in cocaine use in past 3-4 years. </li></ul><ul><li>£40 a gram, £50 for better quality </li></ul><ul><li>Usually adulterated with Lactose powder </li></ul><ul><li>Pubs in the area spraying WD 40 etc on surfaces in toilets to prevent use for cocaine snorting </li></ul><ul><li>Crack cocaine used but not sold! </li></ul><ul><li>Users ‘wash up’ powdered cocaine to smoke </li></ul><ul><li>Growing skunk seen as easy and lucrative, average ‘crop’ approx 80-100+ ounces of cannabis </li></ul><ul><li>Price of an ounce £120-140 </li></ul><ul><li>Crop every 9-11 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>£14,000, potentially every crop </li></ul>
  19. 19. Conclusion <ul><li>In areas where a man’s identity was supposedly once inherent in his occupational status, where people were known and identified by their trade or the job of work they performed, it is perhaps not surprising to see males attempting to ‘claim’ an identity from another source if their traditional means of doing so is denied. </li></ul><ul><li>It is quite clear that one such source can be found for some individuals in ‘being a criminal’ and immersion in criminal culture </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>By recording the biographies and experiences of those in the study it may be possible to make a tentative step towards recognising the significance of these ‘diverse and fragmented criminal identities’ for criminology (Hall, et al 2005, 14). </li></ul>
  21. 21. References <ul><li>Adler, Patricia A. (1985) Wheeling and dealing : an ethnography of an upper-level drug dealing and smuggling community Columbia University Press </li></ul><ul><li>Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste London: Routledge </li></ul><ul><li>Hall, Winlow & Ancrum(2005) ‘Radgies Gangstas and Mugs’, in Social Justice Vol.32:1 </li></ul><ul><li>Hobbs, Dick (1995) Bad business : professional crime in modern Britain Oxford University Press </li></ul><ul><li>Katz, Jack (1988) Seductions of crime : moral and sensual attractions in doing evil New York : Basic Books </li></ul><ul><li>Taylor, I. (1997) Crime in context Oxford University Press </li></ul><ul><li>Winlow, S (2002) Badfellas, crime tradition and masculinity Oxford Berg </li></ul>

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