Illegal drug dealers no longer compete for customers only through the quality of their products, but also in convenience and speed of delivery. This article investigates « ring and bring » drug dealing, and argues that a focus on dealers’ use of mobile phones is useful for exploring current changes within retail level drug markets.
The article is based on 21 face-to-face in-depth interviews with active drug dealers in Denmark all of whom were involved in the delivery of drugs (mainly cannabis and cocaine) often to buyers’ homes.
Contrary to studies emphasising how drug dealers often take up new communication technologies with enthusiasm, the dealers in this study displayed a technological conservatist stance. Moreover, mobile phones have become key to dealers’ construction of in-group hierarchies, and have led to retail level drug selling becoming more flexible, individualised and more of a service on par with other services in the consumer society. Finally, the increasing use of mobile phones has also created a situation where portfolios of drug customers, held on cell phone SIM cards, are today traded and sold alongside other commodities in the drug economy.
We show how a social constructivist approach to technology can provide a more detailed and nuanced account of the socio-technical ensemble and the meaning-making processes giving shape to retail level « delivery dealing. »
View the Original article