Moving Beyond the Confines of the Local: Working-class Students’ Conceptualizations of Belonging and Respectability

Garth Stahl, Sadia Habib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the concept of belonging in understanding how working-class young people construct themselves as ‘subjects of value’ in historically high-poverty areas now undergoing complex social class unsettlements and changes in visual repertoires. Dramatic changes to space and place raise questions for our participants regarding belonging as well as the boundaries of respectability and authenticity. Drawing upon empirical data from two case studies, we conceptualize belonging as a process of sense-making tied to place and value. We find that social class identity and locality play a vibrant role in the shaping of young people’s identities. In seeking to understand how social experiences of young people are lived within classed, ethnic and gendered life worlds, we draw on sociological scholarship of youth, place and space. We explore young people’s lived experiences in South East London and how they explain these experiences as influencing their subjectivities and sense of belonging.
Original languageUndefined
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2017

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