UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A cellar tropic : elision and the marijuana worker McCann, Clayton


The marijuana worker is absent from public discourse. The following thesis will illustrate this fact. While it is indeed difficult to collect data on illicit industries like (non-medical) marijuana production, it is curious that the default representation of marijuana workers and their employers or, for the purposes of this context, growers, is either that of a gang member or an invisible, non-subject. Ongoing, radical changes in marijuana production social labour and the surrounding socio-legal environment in Canada, the United States and beyond have wide-ranging effects in store for British Columbian industry workers and growers. Tracking relevant discourse and assessing typical representations of marijuana growers and workers in media and popular culture products reveal the ongoing construction of abject identities: malingering medical clients employing natural remedies of questionable efficacy, violent gangsters, community-destroying hooligans, and exoticized products of alterity, the hyper-racialized ethnic other. Extended periods of participant observation in multiple marijuana production sectors familiarize the ethnographer with an altogether different cast of characters: peaceful men and women working full or part time as entrepreneurial owner/operators or workers struggling to favorably balance the risk/reward ratio. The project of comparing the resulting divergent representations and discourse⎯the armed Hell’s Angels grower you meet in the newspaper versus the single mom grower you find in her garden⎯is important as nascent structural changes threaten this occupational category in both the illicit and legal sectors. Creative re-representations found throughout are a result of participant observation-based autobiography and autoethnography methods, intended to contribute to new understandings of these hidden peoples, their life-ways and communities.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada