Rewriting the city: graffiti and the subcultural appropriation of space

Projekt: Forskning



The aim of this project is to explore the relation between graffiti writing and the
measures by the authorities to limit such actions. In spite of a growing research
on the graffiti subculture as well as an increased public debate on the costs of
graffiti removal there exists no Swedish evaluation of how well anti-graffiti
measures work. More so, the existing research on graffiti has been preoccupied
with a tension between the legal and illegal aspect of the subculture, relating it to
one of art and vandalism, instead of pursuing the more thorough differences these
studies imply in regards to how the ‘where,’ ‘how,’ and ‘why’ of graffiti are
defined by writers. This project will take as its point of departure such internal
differences, relating them to how graffiti writers perceive, interpret, and act upon
public space as well as the measures by the authorities: How are boundaries
between binary pairs such as legal/illegal, authentic/fake, public/private,
art/vandalism defined and worked in relation to each other? And how are such
definitions and boundary work extended to the ‘where’ and ‘how’ of graffiti
writing? Methodologically the project is inspired by urban ethnography. I will
interview participants through group interviews and "go alongs", the latter
pointing to city walks with individual writers, pursuing how they view and make
use of public space. Themes developed and elucidated during these walks will be
be pursued through group interviews with participants.
Gällande start-/slutdatum2015/03/012018/12/31