Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Richard Wright


Mark Cooney

Jody Miller

Richard Rosenfeld


The goal of this dissertation – A Guide to Drug Dealing – is to move scientists toward a deeper conceptual and theoretical understanding of illicit drug markets. What behaviors are experienced in the course of drug dealing? Why do some customers get a better price than others? What are the circumstances that result in retaliation? Why do some victimized drug dealers respond with peaceful social control rather than violence? What leads to the termination of drug dealing? When does the law handle drug market conflict? In short, this is a guide to drug dealing that – chapter by chapter – provides scientists with a path to empirical insights. Theory and guidance are improved when conceived within a broad conceptual framework for thinking about the world. A theme throughout this guide is that by thinking of behaviors as part of a greater whole, then new explanations, destinations, and advice can be discovered regarding the study and control of drug dealers. The best guides take followers to new places. This dissertation takes the following path: Chapter 1 describes and explains the method and data used in the dissertation, nesting them in the paradigm known as pure sociology. Chapter 2 provides a typology of drug market behavior that suggests which behaviors are “relevant” to a guide on drug dealing, and discusses the value of studying violent and non-violent forms of drug market-related behavior alongside each other. Chapter 3 provides a purely sociological theory of the factors that affect the form and cost of drug transfers. The dissertation then describes and explains various forms of conflict management, including violent and non-forms of retaliation (chapter 4), avoidance and toleration (chapters 5 and 6), and formal mediation (chapter 7). The dissertation concludes with an answer to the question: What has this guide done?

OCLC Number