Social representation of drug users

I am currently conducting some research on ecstasy as part of my degree in social psychology at the London School of Economics.

The exact nature of my project is to do with societies representations of drug users, and the nature of peoples identities who percieve themselves as members of the 'Dance Culture. A focus of my research Is the media's treatment of the recent death of Leah Betts, and the way in which this served not to inform young people of the dangers of ecstasy use, but more to maintain the dominant ideals of society. I will be conducting a thorough analysis of newspaper reports following the tragic incident, in addition to conducting a number of interviews with people who identify with the Culture itself. The interviews will be useful at two level; firstly, I hope to gain an insight into the groups beliefs and values, as well as perform a discourse analysis of the results, which will hope to identify the way the individuals use language as markers of their social identity.

I myself am a third year undergraduate, and although I have never personally taken ecstasy, I regularly enjoy clubbing and festivals etc, and a number of my friends enjoy the benefits of the drug. When given the opportunity to conduct a piece of social research, I leapt at the chance to do something interesting, highly topical, and in an area which has been much neglected by social theorists.

Although the project will be relatively short: some 10-15,000 words in length, I'm sure you will find some of the material interesting, and will be delighted to give you a copy of the final piece, due for completion sometime after Easter this year.

From Dan Worrell