The Street Art World

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


In recent years, street art has become embedded in popular culture and received growing attention from the art market and art institutions. Work by street artists has entered galleries, auction houses and museums, and some artists have been given the opportunity to create large-scale sanctioned public art projects. Simultaneously, widespread photographic documentation of street artworks and the circulation of images online have provided artists with a potentially global audience.

The Street Art World investigates street art as a relatively newly established field within contemporary art. With the American sociologist Howard S. Becker’s notion of “art worlds” as a central point of departure, the book seeks to characterise street art by studying and participating in the everyday interaction among the artists, gallerists, collectors, critics, curators, bloggers and street art enthusiasts that make up the social environment (the street art world) in which the term street art is continuously given its meaning.

Major themes addressed in the book include:

(1) The social construction of the meaning of the term street art and the resulting difficulties in formally defining what street art is.

(2) The often contradictory attitudes within the street art world towards art history and the institutions of art.

(3) The relationship between street art, the art market and the institutional art world.

(4) The relationship between street art and public art.

(5) Street art’s potential to affect the viewer’s perception of public space, and the possible challenges the increasing digital mediation of street art may pose to bringing this potential to fruition.

While the book presents central characteristics of the street art movement, it also acknowledges that it is not feasible to pin down the nature of street art once and for all, since street art is a product of complex social processes.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cultural Studies
  • Art History
  • Visual Arts
  • Sociology
  • Arts


  • public space, contemporary art, art market, gadekunst, gatukonst, Faile, Banksy, public art, graffiti, street art, urban art, street art world, The Street Art World
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • Max Liljefors, Supervisor
  • Markham, Annette, Supervisor, External person
Award date2014 Jun 14
  • Almendros de Granada Press
Print ISBNs978-91-7473-868-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2014-06-14 Time: 10:00 Place: Sal 314, Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper, Biskopsgatan 7, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Miles, Malcolm F. Title: professor Affiliation: Plymouth University, England ---

Related research output

Peter Bengtsen, 2019 Nov, The Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti. Bonadio, E. (ed.). Cambridge University Press, p. 41-52 12 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Peter Bengtsen, 2019 May 29.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

Peter Bengtsen, 2018 Apr.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding

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Peter Bengtsen


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Related activities

Bengtsen, P. (Invited speaker)
2020 Jun 12

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture/debate/seminar

Bengtsen, P. (Member of panel)
2019 Jul 17

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Bengtsen, P. (Invited speaker)
2018 Nov 8

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture/debate/seminar

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