Eika, which is situated along the lower parts of Akerselva River, is the main arena for hashish trade in Oslo. The absolute majority of the drug dealers at Eika are youths who have an ethnic minority background. This thesis employs a qualitative approach in order to examine the following research questions: why did the youths start selling drugs at Eika and secondly, why is it so difficult for them to stop dealing drugs. The study’s agenda is also to provide a psychological understanding of a group that has largely been ignored by academia. This is done by applying attachment theory and theories on exile and immigration. The analysis is based on interviews with five key informants and conversations with a great number of secondary informants.
This study found that meaningful friendships are not established at Eika and that most dealers would prefer to quit their illegal activities if they saw other viable alternatives. It was found that the informants’ experiences in exile were partially responsible for positioning them outside of Norwegian society and into a marginalized milieu. Most informants feel neglected by and rejected from the Norwegian society. For some the rejection by the Norwegian society is made stronger by difficulties identifying with the culture of origin, consequently they feel they do not belong anywhere. Eika is a venue where they neither need nor acquire knowledge of Norwegian society and culture. Therefore it is difficult for them to quit selling drugs at Eika. Furthermore, the absolute majority of the informants have experienced prolonged separation and/or abandonment from caregivers during childhood. It is proposed that the separation from parents has affected how they think of themselves and of the availability of important others. It is therefore difficult for the informants to trust that anyone will help them should they need it. Exposure to danger in childhood has also made them more adapted to a life as a drug dealer than to other venues of Norwegian society. However, the Eika phenomenon is complex and cannot be explained by exile and attachment perspectives alone.