‘NEET’ believers? An analysis of ‘belief’ on an urban housing estate

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    This article explores the impact that the experience of deep-seated social exclusion amongst unemployed white young men on a large urban housing estate in Birmingham, UK has on the ways in which they talk about identity, meaning and ‘belief’. Arising from detailed ethnographic fieldwork, the article forwards an analysis of current debates about youth social exclusion and the deployment of the acronym ‘NEET’ with reference to these young men and others like them across the UK. Drawing upon conversations between the author and young men during fieldwork, the article seeks to bridge the gap between social-science-based examinations of youth social exclusion and theological analyses of youth spiritualities to critically interrogate current debates about the nature of ‘belief’ and ‘belonging’. In particular, the article raises a key critical question: is the word ‘belief’ ‘fit for purpose’ when considering the experience of socially excluded young men on urban housing estates? Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Culture and Religion on 24th August 2012, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14755610.2012.706226
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-335
    Number of pages20
    JournalCulture and Religion
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2012


    • NEET
    • Urban Youth
    • spirituality
    • Social Exclusion
    • Urban Theology

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Urban Studies
    • Religious studies


    • Faith and Peaceful Relations


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