A Critical Examination of Gender Differences in Drug Selling for the Non-Violent Street Level Drug Seller
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On a structural level, the “American Dream” describes the cultural commitment to the goal of economic success, to be pursued by everyone under conditions of open, individual competition. This study examines the impact of the “American Dream” as a motivator for individual offending, specifically from the perspective of the non-violent street level drug seller, in an attempt to explore how extreme marginalization and pecuniary pressures associated with race, class, and gender thrust this group toward criminal coping. This research seeks to contribute to the literature surrounding gender differences in strain/anomie. Semi-structured interviews with current Cook County probationers, n=20 African American females and n=20 African American males, were conducted to explore gender differences in motivations for drug selling. Findings lend support to the hypothesis that the motivations for drug selling differ by gender. Female participants reported their motivations for selling drugs were primarily to meet the needs of dependent others, while males used drug selling to obtain proximate status indicators. Further findings will be discussed in the context of the study and existing literature.