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    GHB is an anaesthetic that in Netherlands since the 1990s is used as a drug by various groups. Although GHB is often defined as a ‘party drug’, particularly in rural areas it is also used in street cultures. GHB is mainly used recreationally, but a minority uses the drug frequently and/or becomes addicted. GHB use and associated problems are disproportionately spread across the Netherlands and are concentrated in certain rural areas (‘trouble spots’), especially in low SES villages or neighbourhoods. Predominantly based on qualitative research, this article describes supply and use of GHB in rural ‘trouble spots’. The profile of experienced current GHB users in rural areas is characterized by a wide age range, a low level of education, often multiple psychosocial problems and poly drug use. They are almost exclusively ‘white’, in majority male users, of whom a large part has been arrested on several occasions. From a supply perspective, GHB could spread quickly because of the short distribution chain, the limited social distance between dealers and users, as well as the closeness an reticence of user groups. Even though as a drug GHB is very different from methamphetamine, there are striking similarities in set and setting characteristics between rural GHB use in the Netherlands and rural methamphetamine use in the US.


Dr. Ton Nabben
Dr. Ton Nabben is onderzoeker en docent op het Bonger Instituut voor Criminologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Hij is medeauteur van het jaarlijks verschijnende Antenneonderzoek naar trends in alcohol, tabak en drugs bij jonge Amsterdammers. In 2010 kwam zijn proefschrift uit over het gebruik van uitgaansdrugs in Amsterdam.

prof. dr. Dirk J. Korf
Prof. dr. Dirk J. Korf is bijzonder hoogleraar criminologie en directeur van het Bonger Instituut, Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Artikel

Symmetrie in homicide

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 0 2011
Trefwoorden social rank, honour, conflict, close social bonds, small communities
Auteurs Anton Blok
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    An analysis of about 2,200 cases of homicides in the Netherlands committed between 1992 and 2006 shows that lethal violence typically results from conflict in symmetric relations in which social rank is ambiguous. The settings of homicides are mostly well-integrated, small communities, including families, rural villages in tribal and agrarian societies, modern urban neighbourhoods, gettos, criminal organisations, and ethnic enclaves. The mechanism that drives antagonism between people in such places is their attachment, close-knit structure, and common features. Earlier, Simmel developed this insight in lethal conflict when saying ‘the more we have in common with another as whole persons, the more easily will our totality be involved in every single relationship to that person, hence the disproportionate violence to which normally well-controlled people can be moved within their relations to those closest to them.’ Contemporary sociologists, ethnographers, and historians amply corroborated this view of lethal violence. In his comparative work Gould shows a compelling connection between ambiguity of social rank and lethal conflict. Knauft investigated the high homicide rates in a New Guinea community and found that lethal violence resulting from sorcery attributions is not the anti-thesis of the ideal of ‘good company’ but its ultimate culmination.


Anton Blok
Prof. dr. Anton Blok is emeritus hoogleraar Culturele antropologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. E-mail: anton.blok@xs4all.nl.
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