Dr Joy White

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2015-16

Dr Joy White

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow 2015-16

Joy White ISRF

Joy received her PhD from the University of Greenwich in 2014. Joy is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Roehampton. Joy is the author of Urban Music and Entrepreneurship: Beats, Rhymes and Young People’s Enterprise (Routledge: Advances in Sociology). It is one of the first books to foreground the socio-economic significance of the UK urban music economy, with particular reference to Grime music. In 2017, she was the Principal Investigator on the ISRF-funded Residential Research Group project Crossing borders: Marginality and opportunity in contemporary British urban youth culture.

Joy writes on a range of themes including: social mobility, urban marginality, youth violence, mental health/wellbeing and urban music. She has a lifelong interest in the performance geographies of black music.

(In)visible Entrepreneurs: How Young People Use the Urban Music Economy to Create Work and Generate Wealth

My thesis contends that the NEET category obscures the significant impact of the accomplishments of those who operate in the informal creative economy. Grime music, a black Atlantic creative expression, is used as a lens through which to explore and analyse the nature of entrepreneurship within this sector. East London, a site of poverty, movement and migration is the geographical starting point for the project.

Over a five-year period from 2007 – 2012, ethnographic field research was carried out in London and Ayia Napa, Cyprus. Forty semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants in the sector. In addition, participant observation was undertaken in various settings including pirate radio stations, nightclubs and music video shoots.

The global reach of those who operate within the urban music sector has a significant socioeconomic impact. Practitioners utilise advances in technology as well as innovative business practice to create opportunities for self-employment on a local, national and international scale. Grime music and its related enterprise culture is a mechanism for social and economic mobility particularly for those from ethnically stigmatised communities.

My original contribution to knowledge is an ethnographic critique of the concept of the NEET using case studies of Grime music and it offers a way to explore the education, employment and training that people in this NEET category are engaged in.

The findings disrupt existing strategies to deal with youth unemployment and argues for a reworking of existing policy initiatives for tackling youth unemployment, and the NEET issue, to take into account actual activity, rather than imagined inactivity.

Research Outcomes

  • White, J. (2016) Urban Music and Entrepreneurship: Beats, Rhymes and Young People’s Enterprise, Routledge

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at lars.cornelissen@isrf.org.