Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 219 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Marvin Krohn

Committee Members

James Zetka, Karyn Loscocco


art world, glass shop, head shop, legitimacy, network, paraphernalia, Pipe, Glass, Glass art, Smoking paraphernalia, Small business, Business networks, Drug paraphernalia

Subject Categories



The goal of this dissertation was to gain an insider perspective of the glass shop industry. A qualitative methodology was employed to gather in depth information from 15 participants who owned glass shops. Through interviews and extensive fieldwork, I was given the opportunity to delve into the work lives of innovative and goal oriented entrepreneurs. My motivation for engaging in this research was to uncover the processes that quasi-legitimate business owners utilized in order to operate under paraphernalia laws, which define the products they sell as illegal. Throughout my research, I learned that today's head shops have evolved from their humble beginnings in the 1960s and differ from many people's perceptions. My findings suggested that while owners employed tactics to avoid legal issues, they were also engaged in legitimating glass pipes as an art form. Glass shop owners have adapted their businesses mainly in response to the glass pipe arts movement and the recognition of a new niche in the marketplace. Over the past 20 years, glass blowers have consistently pushed the boundaries of pipe making and glass shop owners have become enthusiastic advocates of their work. While pipes serve a practical need for those who purchase them, they have far surpassed the label of paraphernalia. In the words of the glass shop owners, "glass pipes are art." My analysis of the glass pipe arts movement is based on Becker's (1982) art world theory. This study specifically explores glass shop owners' business network ties, their experiences as entrepreneurs and their role as distributors in the glass pipe art world. Overall, this dissertation tells a story, from the glass shop owners' perspective, about being pioneers in the dynamic and innovative glass pipe industry.

Included in

Sociology Commons