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COSEP - The Virtual World of Drug Dealers, Rappers, and the Street Code

Date & Time:
March 14, 2017 | 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location:
SS 921
Speaker:
PRESENTED BY: KEVIN D. HAGGERTY AND MARTA-MARIKA URBANIK

With the narrowing of the digital divide, the internet and social media are more accessible than ever to disadvantaged populations, including drug dealers, gang members, and street hustlers. These individuals have developed the habit of increasingly publicizing their criminal activities and associations via social media networks. However, little is known about how these criminal actors conceive of and manage both the benefits and potential detractions of social media. Based on interview data and ethnographic observation of criminally-involved men in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, we argue that the men both reproduce and reinforce many of the dangers of life on the urban streets, while fostering new strategies for managing those risks through an ongoing process of online impression management. In the process, the code of the street goes virtual, dis-embedded from its originating physical location it circulates on new media platforms, and occasionally becomes re-embedded onto those same streets, but with different inflections and implications.