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Exploring the drugs/crime connection within the electronic dance and hip hop nightclub scenes.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
New Castle
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2004, $283,563)

The objective of this project is to explore how the ethos, behavioral norms, and identities (subcultural phenomena) in the electronic dance music (EDM- trance, house, and techno) and the hip hop/rap (HH) scenes, impact the alcohol, drugs, and crime, and victimization (ADC + V) link at nightclub events. These two music scenes provide a major source of leisure activities for young adults today in a growing urban entertainment economy, yet the subcultures surrounding them are disparate and can lead to diverse social problems. Systematic inquiry on this topic can advance knowledge about the drugs/crime connection to settings and populations not previously considered, but which are salient to contemporary criminal justice policy. Secondary objectives are to show how this relationship varies by participant demographics (e.g., especially race/ethnicity and gender) and involvement/commitment to the respective subcultures. Such information will prove valuable in helping to fashion effective interventions and policies.

Research questions include 1) what are the patterns and meanings of drug and alcohol use to participants in these settings and what consequences arise from them?, 2) What are the patterns of criminal activity among participants and how are they experienced?, 3) What are the patterns of victimization among participants and how is it experienced?, 4) What is the relationship between alcohol, drugs, crime and victimization and how do subcultural phenomena impact it?, 5) How do extant theories fare in explaining the ADC + V link among the diverse groups of participants in both types of nightclub events?

The study utilizes a multi-faceted ethnographic approach, featuring in-depth interviews and ongoing e-mail communications (monthly for six consecutive months) with 50 diverse participants (the unit of analysis) in the electronic dance music (EDM) and hip hop/rap (HH) nightclub scenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will be triangulated with direct observation of 24 club events, nominated by respondents. Participants in the two scenes will be interviewed to provide information about how the subcultural phenomena impact the ADC + V connection at nightclub events. Interviews and e-mail communications will also furnish detailed accounts on participants' interactions therein. The observational information will document how the organizational structure (social and physical) of the events impact individual interaction, with respect to the alcohol, drugs and crime/victimization link. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 15, 2004