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

Acevedo, Beatriz and Warren, Samantha 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 1477-2760

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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: Journal Article
Keywords: drugs, sexuality, pharmakon, celebrity endorsement, organizational symbolism
Depositing User: Dr. Beatriz Acevedo
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 08:57
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2022 13:35

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