'Ivory Lives' : race, ethnicity and the practice of whiteness amongst young people
A cursory review of the extant literature on race, ethnicity and youth culture reveals a burgeoning amount of social science research that investigates the ethnic identities of minority groups. Yet to date, we still know very little about the corresponding cultural identities of the ethnic majority and who they are in these times of global change and economic disharmony. This thesis aims to address this imbalance by exploring the meaning of white ethnicity in young people's lives. It draws upon historical, subcultural and ethnographic methods of data collection to ask the question, how do white youth 'do' whiteness in the present English post-imperial moment. By making lucid the 'practice' of whiteness, the thesis Must, ates the varied and contingent enactment of white identities by young people. It is argued that a new appraisal of white, Anglo-ethnicities is presently required if young people are to be sufficiently equipped for dealing with the 'new times' of contemporary multi-ethnic Britain. The thesis implodes the monolithic assumption of whiteness as a hermetically sealed ethnic category to investigate the complex, multiple and fragmented experiences entailed when exhibiting white cultural identities. Moreover, the evidence suggests that a failure to connect with white ethnicities may only serve to bolster youthful allegiances to a xenophobic white, English nationalism. Instead, the research calls for a critical engagement with white, English ethnicities in order to splice the social immediacy of whiteness, racism and nationalism in young people's lives. In this respect the study aims to explore the possibilities available for a positive white, youthful identity unencumbered by the burden of racism and nationalism. As such, the thesis explores the 'making' and 'unmaking' of whiteness and considers the possibilities for new white ethnicities in the West Midlands and Tyneside conurbation of England.