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Embodying inspiration race and disaffected young white men in Burnley

Loughenbury, Robert Thomas (2008) Embodying inspiration race and disaffected young white men in Burnley. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Young white men have often found themselves bearing the burden of designs for the improvement of UK society. Official reports reprised this theme following the racially charged disturbances in Northern England's mill towns in the summer of 2001. So- called disaffected young white men were left ambiguously positioned -and immobilised- on the margins of political discourse. In response, this thesis complicates the ways in which young white men in Burnley, a town affected by the violence, may be appreciated as politically capable. In so doing, it prepares for a more imaginative mapping of roles for them in local social progress, post-2001. Ethnographies of boxing and bodybuilding gyms unpack the variety of affective capacities through which young white men live out complex masculine body cultures. These study the inspiration young men find in these carefully engineered and politically enabling places. Although these gyms nestle amidst Burnley's urban hinteriands, and between otherwise parallel lives, they see fragile bonds of affection grow between young white and Asian men. Those bonds represent small, fragile and politically ambiguous gains, which must nonetheless inform proposals for Burnley’s future. The thesis speculates that if such proposals are to be desirable and possible, those same young men must find them persuasive. It therefore recommends placing colloquial inspirations, and a cautious affirmation of capable individuality, at the heart of visions of social progress in Burnley.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:28

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