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Upcoming movements: young people, multiculture, marginality and politics in outer East London

James, Malcolm (2012) Upcoming movements: young people, multiculture, marginality and politics in outer East London. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis is a long-term ethnography produced in and around three Outer East London youth clubs. Addressing the contemporary intersection between urban multiculture, marginalisation and youth politics, it tells the stories of about a hundred young people living in Newham between 2008 and 2012. Drawing on a variety of ethnographic and textual materials, these themes develop through four substantive areas of concern. The first challenges 'Golden Era' accounts of East London by engaging with the memory practices of young people and youth workers in Newham. It argues for a deeper understanding of the 'traced' processes of 'becoming white' and an appreciation of the potential of diaspora mnemonics. In the context of 'the cuts' in public spending, the second explores the politics of territory in and around Leyham Youth Club. Using a multi-scalar analysis, it argues that the criminalisation of young people's public spaces through neo-liberal and neo-communitarian forms of governance needs to be understood alongside the micro-politics of territory. The third investigates the claim that young people's public productions are sold-out and nihilistic. Engaging with a range of music, video and dance projects, it argues that while young people made use of commercialised and nihilistic aesthetics, their work was meaningful and political. Though a discussion of performance, citation and new technologies of dialogue, the chapter further argues for a re-assessment of academic understandings of cultural syncretism. The fourth area addresses young people's futural projections. It explores how 'aspirational' futures depended on the marginalisation of other futures. Through a discussion of hip hop video, it also shows how, beyond this binary, young people projected alternative futures. The thesis concludes by restating its commitment to ethnography as a method that can address and engage politically with social injustice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Malcolm James
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Alexander, Claire

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