Young Women On Road: Femininities, Race and Gangs in London

PhD Thesis
Choak, C. 2018. Young Women On Road: Femininities, Race and Gangs in London. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Business and Law
Authors Choak, C.
Type PhD Thesis
Year 2018
Publisher University of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
File 2019_PhD_Choak.pdfLicenseCC BY-NC-ND 4.0File Access LevelAnyone
Publication dates
Print Dec 2018
Deposited 14 Aug 2019
Abstract This thesis is a qualitative study of young women’s involvement with badness in London. It is based on semi-structured interviews with young women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, youth practitioners and criminal justice practitioners. It takes a black feminist approach in order to explore the lives and experiences of those from deprived areas. Such a perspective allows for the inclusion of all respondents regardless of their social class or racial identity, and considers the intersection of class, gender and race. The purpose of this study is to address the considerable gap in knowledge surrounding young women and road culture. It builds on and extends Gunter’s (2008; 2009; 2010) work which focuses predominantly on black young men in East London who perform badness as part of road culture’s rejection of mainstream norms and values. One of the key findings of my research is that badness cuts across gender lines. Young women can adopt tough personas as a successful survival strategy to gain respect, and sustain their reputations, in similar ways to young men. Rather than ‘acting like men’ by displaying behaviours associated with hegemonic masculinity however, females are constructing their own bad ass femininity. Not content with existing on the periphery of the action, and in addition to carrying drugs and weapons, they can be involved in robberies and the sale and supply of drugs. Young women are not necessarily second class citizens in these spaces, they are hustlers and leaders of their peers. Another key finding was their capability for violence, with the potential to exhibit more vicious behaviours than their male peers, in order to be known as someone who is a bad and not to be tested. Originally published by UEL here.