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Keeping it real?: Subcultural graffiti, street art, heritage and authenticity
University College London.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9572-5922
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Heritage Studies (IJHS), ISSN 1352-7258, E-ISSN 1470-3610, Vol. 21, no 4, 369-389 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article considers the implications of framing subcultural graffiti and street art as heritage. Attention is paid to subcultural graffiti's relationship to street art and the incompatibility of its traditions of illegality, illegibility, anti-commercialism and transience with the formalised structures of heritage frameworks. It is argued that the continued integration of street art and subcultural graffiti into formal heritage frameworks will undermine their authenticity and mean that traditional definitions of heritage, vandalism and the historic environment will all need to be revisited. The article contributes to the current re-theorisation of heritage's relationship with erasure by proposing that subcultural graffiti should be perceived as an example of 'alternative heritage' whose authenticity might only be assured by avoiding the application of official heritage frameworks and tolerating loss in the historic environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2015. Vol. 21, no 4, 369-389 p.
Keyword [en]
Subcultural Graffiti, Street Art, Alternative Heritage, Authenticity, Banksy
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Visual Arts Cultural Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110073DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2014.934902ISI: 000349786900005OAI: diva2:860999

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Available from: 2015-10-14 Created: 2015-10-14 Last updated: 2016-03-18Bibliographically approved

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Merrill, Samuel
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