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The Safe Haven Theory: a qualitative analysis of dominant paradigms in the development of student subcultures, recreational drug use, and their impact on the leisure spaces of Plymouth, England.

[Kay Smythe Dissertation 2015; Plymouth University. BA (HONS) Geography]

Abstract

This paper employs methods to explore theoretical paradigms in the formation of friendship groups (social homophily), how these groups interact (social capital) and their impact on social geographies (normalisation) and leisure spaces (night time leisure spaces). 10 interviews were conducted with students from Plymouth University, featuring questions regarding their personal perspective on recreational and problem drug use and Plymouth’s leisure spaces. The analysis and interpretation of these interviews divulged confirmations of the four dominant paradigms as follows: university-level friendship groups formed through social homophily develop their own social capital in regards to recreational drug use within which terminology and style of usage can lead to a gain or loss. This is present within both user and non-user friendship groups, thus confirming the development of normalisation within these communities. The student subcultures with social capital gains in recreational drug use have deemed specific night time leisure spaces as environments for said usage as a result of the genres of music played. Given these findings, the theory of Safe Havens for recreational drug use has been developed.


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