chapter  4
15 Pages

Cultural Studies Went to School and Where Did it End Up?

ByJulian Sefton-Green

In 1986 I started teaching English at Northumberland Park Community School in Tottenham. The school is directly behind the football stadium-the local club Tottenham Hotspur FC is by far and away the most famous business in the area. Tottenham will play a key role in my account, so by way of context I need to say that it is one of the most deprived areas in the United Kingdom with a very socially mixed population and high unemployment. Just before I began teaching there had been riots in the local housing estate, Broadwater Farm, and unusually for England this had resulted in the death of a police officer. This made the area notorious and in the eighties that event was one of the key markers of poor relationships between the police and black communities. The area itself is a curious mixture of beautiful but decayed Georgian buildings and more brutal social housing. In 2011 the death of yet another black man by the police in Tottenham provoked large-scale rioting, which spread across London and two other major cities in the UK. In some ways, and I say this also because of visits I have made as a result of an on-going research project, the area has not changed greatly in the last 25 years.