Growing Up in ‘The Ends’: Identity, Place and Belonging in an Urban East London Neighbourhood

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


As a response to the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, austerity measures have been implemented which have had an enduring impact on the lives of young people living in urban multicultural settings. Between 2007 and 2012, I interviewed 40 people aged 18–40 who had grown up in ‘the ends’ in east London. In the UK, ‘the ends’ is a colloquial term used by young people to denote local, familiar neighbourhoods (Reynolds, Urban Studies, 50(3), 484–498, 2013; White, 2016b). The majority of the participants were involved in the production and dissemination of Grime music. Drawing on my empirical research as its starting point, this chapter will explore how young people use Grime music to construct a sense of belonging in ‘the ends’ or poor urban neighbourhoods. Given the challenging socio-economic changes in London, I explore what it means, to grow up in ‘the ends’. How are young people in this area positioned within the wider processes of social change? I conclude by suggesting that young people use music to construct identities and that despite chronic social issues, these identities may be a source of validation, comfort and recognition.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of RoehamptonLondonUK

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