Reggae Culture as Local Knowledge: Mapping the Beats on South East London Streets

Henry, William 'Lez' and Back, Les. 2020. Reggae Culture as Local Knowledge: Mapping the Beats on South East London Streets. In: William 'Lez' Henry and Matt Worley, eds. Narratives from Beyond the UK Reggae Bassline: The System is Sound. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 29-57. ISBN 9783030551605 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The chapter focuses on the importance of finding, writing and telling the history of reggae music in the UK and focuses on the New Cross area in South East London where Goldsmiths, University of London, is based and where both authors have studied, taught and lived for much of their lives. This part of London played a significant role in the development of reggae in Britain and is home to important sound systems like Jah Shaka and Saxon Studio. It is where Lover’s Rock records were first made, and many female Londoners sung an ‘ethic of loving blackness’ into being in politically harsh and hateful times. The chapter reflects critically on a decade of experience of taking groups of people for ‘reggae walks’ through this postcolonial landscape and discusses how these community forms of knowledge were collated in an on-line open access map called the ‘Reggae Map of New Cross’. We argue these experiments with telling reggae’s story differently offer more open and inclusive forms of learning, for reggae is simultaneously a form of ‘local knowledge’ and an ‘outernational perspective’ that is both embedding in a place but never confined or rooted to it.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):


reggae culture, urban life, racism, popular music, multiculture

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)


26 November 2020Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2021 13:18

Last Modified:

26 Nov 2022 02:26


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