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The Colour of Walls: Psychological Mugging or Democratic Communication?

Master of Arts: Honours Geography
Alice Spencer


There is no consensus of opinion about graffiti; its presence, purpose, persistence and perpetrators all gain attention however remain largely ambiguous to wider society. Graffiti is distinct in that it comprises a dichotomy of representation; firstly by being reflective of culture, a creative force of expression in the urban environment, secondly by being symbolic of the detrimental forces of youth criminality. This UK specific research study challenges the misconceptions of who perpetrators are and argues that the place and placing of graffiti in urban areas conditions to what extent it is accepted and/or rejected. Where does graffiti 'belong' in contemporary UK society? There is a need to reconceptualise graffiti beyond its historical attachments and preconceptions to accommodate for the concept of Neo-Graffiti culture.