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The devil in high heels: drugs, symbolism and Kate Moss

Warren, Samantha and Acevedo, Beatriz and Wray-Bliss, Edward (2009) 'The devil in high heels: drugs, symbolism and Kate Moss.' Culture and Organization, 15 (3-4). pp. 331-345. ISSN 1475-9551

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Abstract

This paper contributes to critical voices on the issue of organisational responses to employee drug use. It does so by exploring symbolic readings of organisations’ relations with drugs and drug‐taking. Our focus is recent coverage of, and organisational responses to, the UK tabloid media’s exposé of fashion supermodel Kate Moss’s alleged cocaine use. We consider that the celebrity endorsement in this particular case highlights the ambiguities created by the symbolic associations between the organisation and the ‘image’ projected by the celebrity. Overall, we use this case to explore symbolic relationships between drugs, sex, femininity and organisation. Through highlighting these connections, we question further the rationality of organisational responses to employee drug use and, utilising Derrida’s (1981) extension of Plato’s notion of the pharmakon, consider whether workforce drug testing might be fruitfully seen as a symbolic mechanism for scapegoating and sacrifice in order to protect the organisation’s (masculine) moral order.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Drugs; sexuality; organisational symbolism; pharmakon; celebrity endorsement
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Clare Chatfield
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2013 15:18
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014 11:20
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/6921

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