The devil in high heels

Drugs, symbolism and Kate Moss

Beatriz Acevedo, Samantha Warren*, Edward Wray-Bliss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-345
Number of pages15
JournalCulture and Organization
Volume15
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

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