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International Journal of Arts and Sciences 3(8): 496 - 519 (2010) CD-ROM. ISSN: 1944-6934 © InternationalJournal.org

‘One Eye in Toxteth, One Eye in Croxteth’ – Examining Youth Perspectives of Racist and Anti-Social Behaviour, Identity and the Value of Sport as an Integrative Enclave in Liverpool James Kenyon, Liverpool Hope University, UK Joel Rookwood, Liverpool Hope University, UK

Abstract: Liverpool has a rich and complex social identity, infused by various cultural influences and evolving migration patterns. Its status was recognised with the 2008 award of European Capital of Culture, reflecting Liverpool’s architectural, musical and sporting heritage, together with recent regeneration. The recent redevelopments are considered notable given the economic recession, increases in unemployment and hooliganism, and the racially-aggravated riots Merseyside experienced in the 1980s. Elements of Liverpool’s population have a long association with racist and violent identities and behaviours, and there is evidence that such characteristics continue to permeate the social fabric of the city. The murders of Anthony Walker and Rhys Jones in 2005 and 2007 respectively serve as contemporary examples. This paper will explore youth culture in two traditionally, currently and infamously troubled areas, namely Croxteth in the north of the city and Toxteth in the south. Drawing on observational data as well as interviews with teenage males, this research accesses opinion pertaining to the construction and expression of contemporary identity relative to community and ethnicity. It also examines youth engagement in racist and anti-social behaviour in both communities, and the extent to which sport serves as an integrative enclave in Liverpool. Keywords: UK, gangs, racism, community sport

Introduction - Liverpool Founded by King John’s Royal Charter of 1207, the English coastal city of Liverpool was initially nothing more than a departure point for the armies of the King’s military exploits in Ireland and Wales (Belchem, 2006). From its early development up until the seventeenth century, Liverpool was considered as little more than an insignificant fishing village which conducted its trade in the Irish Sea (Hollinshead, 2008; Kermode, Hollinshead and Gratton, 2006). However, as trade between Europe and the ‘New World’ grew during the European Renaissance, the port proved ideally placed to take advantage of these new trade links, and the first recorded cargo that landed in Liverpool from the North Atlantic in 1648 would herald a period of almost constant economic growth that would continue until after the First World War (Belchem, 2006). Initially this economic growth was driven by the port’s prominent role in the eighteenth century transatlantic slave trade (Morgan, 2007; Richardson, Schwarz and Tibbles, 2007) which turned Liverpool into ‘one of the richest and most prosperous trading centres in the world’ (Muir, 1907 cited in Belchem, 2000: 9). Its continued (post-slavery) economic expansion was achieved by trading primarily in cotton, textiles, rum, tobacco and sugar and by exploiting an emerging global emigration


International Journal of Arts and Sciences 3(8): 496 - 519 (2010) CD-ROM. ISSN: 1944-6934 © InternationalJournal.org

market (Belchem, 2006; Milne, 2006; Pooley, 2006; Russell, 2007; Speake and Fox, 2008). Economic growth persisted throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and during this time the city of Liverpool had more to offer the world than its dealings with slavery. As Grant and Gray confirm Liverpool was ‘a major centre of industry, ideas and culture, its influence [...] cannot be understated’ (2007: 1). Yet while business for Liverpool’s eighteenth and nineteenth century merchants and entrepreneurs was flourishing, most of city’s residents experienced a much more challenging existence; there was, according Harris, a ‘great deal of misery and degradation’ in the city (1968: xii). Throughout Liverpool’s economic ‘golden-age’ the