This paper uses the work of Pierre Bourdieu to understand the lives of a set of young White working-class men living in a deprived urban locale in the north of England. All participants were classified as NEET (not in education, employment or training) throughout the research and had spent lengthy periods of time outside education and work before the study commenced. Although none took part in formal employment, many participants engaged in illicit activities, often for material gain, during the course of the fieldwork. The data presented is drawn from ethnographic fieldwork and deals with participants’ attitudes to education, work and social life more broadly. Whilst some findings are troubling, the paper challenges dominant discourses about the attitudes, values and aspirations of NEET young people, especially those from White working-class backgrounds.