Hierarchies, markets and networks: ethnicity/race and drug distribution

Murji, Karim (2007). Hierarchies, markets and networks: ethnicity/race and drug distribution. Journal of Drug Issues, 37(4) pp. 781–804.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/002204260703700403


Three models—hierarchies, markets, and networks—are used to explore the organization of drug distribution and the place of ethnicity/race in that. These models are well established as conceptual approaches to the coordination of social life. Each of them is employed in the analysis of drug distribution, though not always clearly. This paper aims to elucidate their key features as they bear on questions of ethnicity/race. In doing so, it problematizes the way that ethnicity/race is employed in research and policy circles and challenges naïve assumptions about ethnic sameness and ethnicity/race as bases for organizing drug distribution. Ethnicity may be a useful resource for criminal and legitimate enterprises but both comparisons between the two and details of what is specifically ethnic are generally lacking. Some avenues for future research and simple principles to guide such research are proposed.

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