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Describing the Indescribable: Interpretation, Discourse, and Social Learning within an Online Drug Community
Rosino, Michael L

2013, MA, University of Cincinnati, Arts and Sciences: Sociology.
The development of online drug communities is heavily intertwined with new subcultural trends and patterns in global drug use including the recent increase in use of novel hallucinogens. Analyzing these emergent forms of subculture provides important insights into the growing connection between computer-mediated communication and drug use in contemporary society. Drawing on a framework which integrates social learning theory and social constructionism, I analyze interpretations and conversational discourse within the online drug community DMT-Nexus. I develop a methodology for analyzing online communities utilizing interpretive and conversational qualitative analysis techniques to generate a typology of subcultural knowledge and meanings and develop a conception of the social construction process in online communities.
The findings of this study show how online contexts affect the social learning process that enables drug use and illustrate the mechanisms through which users gain relevant knowledge and meanings as well as status and credibility. Based on these findings, I pose an update to Becker's (1963) social learning model of drug use which reflects the implications of online contexts. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate how group knowledge and shared meanings are socially constructed within online communities through conversation as a reflexive process which I describe as 'reflexive validation'. For instance, drug users may advocate certain techniques or methods for using and experiencing drugs which others can corroborate through their responses or they may pose interpretations of drug-induced experiences which can be validated or rejected by others. Finally, through focusing on computer mediated communication, this study reveals the importance of not only learning and the development of subcultural knowledge but also linguistic descriptions and modes of communication in the Web-based social processes that enable drug use.
Annulla Linders, Ph.D. (Committee Chair)
Jennifer Malat, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
64 p.

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Rosino, M. (2013). Describing the Indescribable: Interpretation, Discourse, and Social Learning within an Online Drug Community. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Rosino, Michael. "Describing the Indescribable: Interpretation, Discourse, and Social Learning within an Online Drug Community." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2013. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 22 Nov 2017.

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Rosino, Michael "Describing the Indescribable: Interpretation, Discourse, and Social Learning within an Online Drug Community." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2013. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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