Jacob Erickson, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology, is the lead author of a study titled, “Meth Cooking as a Job: Identity and Dirty Work,” which was published Oct. 22, 2019, in the online edition of Justice Quarterly. Andrew Hochstetler, professor of sociology at Iowa State, and Heith Copes, professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, are co-authors of the study.
The research team interviewed 33 participants who cook meth for a living and found that they emphasized the rewards of their work in the context of the hedonistic lifestyle they desired. They enjoyed a perceived higher status, a sense of belonging, and developed pride and satisfaction in cooking. As a result, the researchers propose that methamphetamine users’ marginalization and their cooking experiences contribute to the continued production of methamphetamine, which is fostered by the positive elements of an occupational identity that lingers, despite great cost.