Keeping It in the Family: Intersectionality and ‘Class A’ Drug Dealing by Females in the West of Scotland
2. Literature Review
Women and the Drug Trade
3. The Current Study
4.1. Keeping It in the Family
‘I look[ed] after the boys (referring to her younger brothers) [growing up]…fell on me to [raise] them. [our] mum was there but couldn’t do all the practical things [be]cause of her illness so I had to do everything for them… was hard, but they respect me for it.’—(Jennifer)
‘The boys do what I tell them… I’ve done a lot for them. Suppose I do cast that up at times… [but] everything I do is for… the good of the family. They know that…. So, they do as they are told (laughs).’—Jennifer
‘I had always sold [diazepam]…. It’s no[t] money you can live off, [but] it helps…. After I had kids, I just wanted the best for them. Was pure struggling…. No like their dad was providing, he’s a pure loser man… My oldest brother…. he was a [drug] dealer. I [learned from him] … My brother had contacts… [and] hooked me up…. That[s] how I got into this…. My [siblings] seen me doing well, because I would be like buying them stuff, they were like “thanks sis, by the way how’d you get the money for that” …. [with the more success I had] I just brought them into the fold.’—Karen
‘[uncle] got [me] into this line of …. He was well known in the scheme3 …. I had always looked after my [siblings], but after changes in benefits (referring to recent welfare cuts) we literally were finding it hard to put a roof over our head…. [uncle] helped us out…. Initially, we just [stored] whatever, but after a while you get to know the game. [I]fell into [drug dealing] … [but] needed help… I started getting [oldest male siblings] to help out … I don’t have a [driving] license, [he does] …. after that, it becomes like a family operation.’—Jennifer
‘[Ron’s]uncle [Andrew] own[ed] [ice-cream] vans. [After Andrew’s death] Ron got them. [Ron] already knew the [suppliers] from Glasgow [be]cause [Andrew]. [It was arranged] for [Ron] to keep doing the runs. Some work[ers] [dealt] from the vans but [ their main purpose was money laundering] … I [was in charge of] finance … [before progressing] to cook[ing].’—Sophie
‘When dating I didn’t know [Steve] was selling [heroin]… [when] I found out, he stopped hiding it from me and just [brought drugs] into the house [openly]…[after] we split… [I] had bills and [a child], so… [Steve’s supplier visited] me and said if I [wanted] would [I continue] to hold [drugs]… [he] paid me £100 every week at first [but] also [bought expensive goods] …. Just [progressed] from there.’—Kimberly
4.2. Managing Market Domination
‘I am my own boss… I pay my [suppliers] like everyone else, [but] I sell to my own [clientele]… I [pay] my [siblings], their mates, [other workers], but the rest is [mine].’—Jennifer
‘If [a would-be attacker] is going to rob a dealer, then they are going to rob a dealer. Doesn’t matter if they are male or female… If you (referring to the researcher) were going to rob a drug-dealer you would make sure you are all tooled up5, and [attack] when they are [unsuspecting]… I would agree that women would be more vulnerable to like a sex attacker, but that’s [be]cause the women has something the guy wants. It’s no[t] like that with drug-dealing… [both male and female] dealers have what the attacker wants.’—Sam
‘They broke into [the house] but that [was] because James (Leah’s supplier and partner) was holding a few Kilo of coke… [they] never touched me… [they just] stole the [drugs], some money as well, and left.’—Leah
‘Anyone can get attacked... it happens to [male drug dealers] all the time. It’s just one of them risks [involved with] doing this type of [work]…. You need to be on your guard… No[t] even [in regard to robbery], but steal[ing] as well…. [sometimes customers] will maybe ask for tick, or run up [large debts], [and] no[t] pay …. I set limits on tick bills… Regardless, [of potential profits] I only work with people [I know, or] other [trusted friends] can vouch for.’—Jennifer
4.3. Females Doing the Business
‘I learn[ed] how to deal from [my older brother, but] also learned what not to do. He [is always] in and out of [prison]… [mostly] for fighting wi’ people about drugs… he is too bravado [for] this line of work…. Most guys are... I don’t have that problem being a woman…. [I don’t] get side-tracked into some guy, [bravado], bull shit, who is the toughest…. For me it is just business.’—Karen
‘[violence] do[esn’t] do [anyone] good…. [Recalling a previous incident] I went with [male gangland enforcer - Paul] to [identify] this cunt that owed money, nothing [much], a few hundred… Anyways, [Paul] stab[s] fuck out this dude. It was brutal, anyhoos (anyways)…. What ends up happen but? [The victim] comes back, about fucking two years [later], and does [Paul] in. Ended up tit of tat. Whole load a shit…. [Results in] both of them getting [imprisonment].—Pamela
‘My brother’s [male friends do] some work for [me] but I can see they aren’t happy when [I] ask them “do this”. They look at me like “you’re a woman” …. I don’t have that problem with [my younger brothers] …. But their pals, [I do]. They do what I ask because they know it is going to benefit them…. but I can’t say “fucking get that done now”. Remember, they are young boys, and most aren’t [use to] women tell[ing] them [what] to do.’—Jennifer
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Note, females are still located out with the higher echelons of illicit drug economies.
A term used in Glasgow to refer to local housing estates which are associated with welfare support systems, and class exclusion.
Keyser Söze was a fictitious character in the 1995 film ‘Usual Suspects’. Kevin spacey is a criminal who plays the buffoon, while in fact controlling the criminal underworld form behind the scenes in the guise of invented criminal mastermind Keizer Soze, who in fact does not actually exist.
Tooled up is a Glaswegian term for pre-arming oneself for violent confrontation to ensure the odds are stacked heavily in favour of the individual in question.
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Holligan, C.; Mclean, R.; Irvine, A.; Brick, C. Keeping It in the Family: Intersectionality and ‘Class A’ Drug Dealing by Females in the West of Scotland. Societies 2019, 9, 22. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9010022
Holligan C, Mclean R, Irvine A, Brick C. Keeping It in the Family: Intersectionality and ‘Class A’ Drug Dealing by Females in the West of Scotland. Societies. 2019; 9(1):22. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9010022Chicago/Turabian Style
Holligan, Chris, Robert Mclean, Adele Irvine, and Carlton Brick. 2019. "Keeping It in the Family: Intersectionality and ‘Class A’ Drug Dealing by Females in the West of Scotland" Societies 9, no. 1: 22. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9010022