Islands of Peace: Middle-Class Drug Markets

  • Jean Daudelin
  • José Luiz Ratton


Recife’s drug markets are heavily segregated. Middle-class consumers and sellers rarely mix with poor ones. Consumption of high-quality cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, and cocaine hydrochloride is quite high among artists and intellectuals, the social movement crowd, “cool” baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as middle-class upper high-school and university students. Markets for those drugs are active and profitable. Remarkably, given its exceptionally violent surroundings, Recife’s middle-class drug trade is largely devoid of violent confrontations or even of tensions. The paradox appears to lie in those markets’ closed and covert nature, combined with the limited extent of problematic consumption and a policing that heavily sanctions violence but leaves trafficking largely undisturbed.


Drug markets Middle class Violence Inequality Brazil 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Daudelin
    • 1
  • José Luiz Ratton
    • 2
  1. 1.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Federal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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