4. How do you become involved in hybrid digital drug markets: Identifying explanations in a qualitative interview study with social media sellers

Thursday, 24 November, 2022 - 10:50 to 12:20


When silkroad appeared in 2011 it was evident that it would change markets for illicit drugs. A decade later a number of hybrid digital markets, such as app based and social media based markets has appeared. The hybrid markets depend on the darknet markets for sourcing, digital apps for selling, but operates local and offline. This paper ask the research question: How can we explain the pathways into drug dealing on social media? And, how does these pathways differentiate in according to the primary theories in the field; financial reward/risk (motivational), sensations of risk (emotional) and drift (neutralization).

This paper is based on 106 semi-structured interviews with social media drug dealers and buyers in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

Economical incentives were highly dominant among the most professional sellers. However, sensation seeking is evident in the explanation across all types of sellers. Drift provided an important explanation among the amateur sellers. For the amateur group the technological possibilities of SoMe opened a (digital drift) way into dealing and the perception of the SoMe environments as mainstream ensured neutralization. This make drug transactions appear less morally transgressive and even acceptable as a youthful entrepreneurial endeavor.

Professional and amateur sellers not only differentiate in according to descriptive characteristics but also in according to the way they become involved in the hybrid markets. Risk perception and moral boundaries could be effective in an secondary prevention effort for the amateur group.


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24 A3 1050 Jakob Demant_v1.0.pdf1.16 MBDownload



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