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Exploring Narratives and Antenarratives of Graffiti Artists: Beyond dichotomies of commitment and detachment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martyna Sliwa, Gordon Cairns


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In this article, we propose engagement in critical analysis of social phenomena—here, that of 'commitment'—through consideration of narratives of and about graffiti artists ('graffers'). We discuss ways in which graffers are viewed as demonstrating conformance with or rebellion against prevailing social mores. We address representations of them through their own work, as well as in the media and in academic literature. We find that graffers are generally portrayed in simplistic terms, being either vilified and seen as detached from norms of society or justified through incorporation into the discourse of modern art. In our analysis, we employ Boje's concept of 'antenarrative' to challenge the dichotomous depictions of graffers, particularly in relation to the notion of commitment. We posit that the antenarrative approach can also enable analysis of less extreme groups, helping us to explore relevant concepts and phenomena.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sliwa M, Cairns G

Publication type: Article

Journal: Culture and Organization

Year: 2007

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Pages: 73-82

ISSN (print): 1475-9551

ISSN (electronic): 1477-2760

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14759550601167321


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