Graffiti and the right to the city - And individualistic claim with collective consequences

Derya Ekiz, Jeppe Klit Nielsen & Thomas Siggaard Andersen

Student thesis: Subject Module Project


This project investigates graffiti as a means through which it is possible to claim the right to the city. We see graffiti as a spatial phenomenon that produces spaces with many different potential meanings attached. Lefebvre’s triad of how social space is produced allows us to navigate these meanings and social contexts, as our understanding of the subject becomes more nuanced and complex.
We approached the subject matter with the perspective of philosophical hermeneutics, as we recognised that working just phenomenologically or with a social constructivist outlook would not be able to fully address the concept by themselves. Graffiti is both, and philosophical hermeneutics enabled us to move between the two as our understanding grew and new prejudices were created.
Through intensive fieldwork at a yearly street festival and qualitative interviews with graffiti writers and artists, we explored how graffiti is represented in current day and age, and what it means to the lives of our informants. We have learned of the powerful connection and passion the writers have to the craft. And explored how they, with their different motivations had been able to change themselves by changing the city. We learned how, instead of disarming graffiti of critical potential, the event’s intention of sharing graffiti to everyone is perhaps necessary, in order to open up the critical potential to the collective, and transcend the murkiness surrounding the discourses and meanings of graffiti as a mean of claiming the right to the city.

EducationsGeography, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Bachelor
Publication date30 May 2018
Number of pages56
SupervisorsLasse Martin Koefoed