Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Assignment 4A

For Assignment 3 I used the Library and Library Crossearch to find articles and books to do with all aspects of Graffiti as I produced a new idea of Graffiti removal for Assignment 2. The boks/ articles I have decided to read/ look at in more detail for Assignment 4 from my collated bibliography are; Youth and Society, Urban Graffiti: Crime, Control and Resistance and the book, Design Against Vandalism. They tackle different issues but are still appropriate to my first ideas. The article on Urban Graffiti looks at why and how graffiti writers resist authority and why they do it. Design Against Vandalism mentions graffiti but looks at the bigger issues of vandlism as a whole and how to tackle them. Together they give me a better understanding of the psychological reasons for vandalising and provide me with detailed information on how it needs to be dealt with in the future drawing on past experiences. This in turn helps me to reflect on my idea for Assignment 2 in a different light, giving me greater knowledge and inspiration for the future.

Activity 4A

Ferrel, J, (1995) Youth and Society, Urban Graffiti: Crime, Control, and Resistance

The main purpose of this article is to define what resistance is so that it can be discussed in the area of youth graffiti writing, giving a better understanding of how and why graffiti writers resist authority.

The key question the author is addressing: How does the resistance of graffiti writers and the authority of higher bodies intersect and interweave and how do graffiti writers shape resistance to existing and alternative arrangements. ("What, though, is the larger cultural and political context in which this wildly popular style of graffiti writing proliferates? And precisely what forms of authority does this graffiti writing resist?") All of the questions relate to each other and are appropriate which makes it easy to find the answers highlighted later in the article.

The most important information in this article: own experience (ongoing field research and participant observation inside the Denver, Colorado graffiti underground), over viewing and drawing from similar stories and experiments.

The key secondary sources used are: Quotes from numerous individual; graffiti writers ("Personally I want to hit on city stuff, like bridges, rather than some other person's property, They build the boringest crap around, so why not beautify it?"), gang members and council officials. Past articles written on similar studies (resistance within other areas of society; resistance in metropolitan settings, resistance among peasants and other dominated groups).

The key primary sources used are: Field research gathered by the author himself by observing and participating in the graffiti scene. Interviews he conducted with Denver legal agents and political officials. Newspaper searches and other forms of document research in various US cities.

The main inferences/ conclusions in this article: The author concludes that the right way in which we should perceive resistance in relation to graffiti writing is to focus on the various forms of everyday resistance and the situated meanings that surround and define them. Perceiving youthful graffiti in this way allows him to conclude that graffiti is not always mindless destructiveness but young people imagining and creating new social arrangements within urban environments. The author stays on track right the way through the article so it is easy to follow and understand where these conclusions arrive from.

The key concepts we need to understand: You need to grasp a good understanding of resistance so that when it is discussed with in the area of graffiti you know what the author is talking about. This concept is justified by the author explaining how resistance has been tackled unfairly in the past.

The main assumptions underlying the authors thinking: It could be argued that the author focuses too much on the positive side of graffiti and takes for granted that there are many negative issues.

If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications; If we take the authors line of reasoning seriously we will believe that graffiti is positive as he believes it creates community and allows troubled youth to create new and better environments instead of getting in to crime and gangs. This could be good as it puts a new perspective on graffiti and it could be taken in to consideration when tackling graffiti to create new solutions. However if people take it too seriously they could decide that graffiti is not a problem as it is helping these minority groups feel part of a community and stop trying to tackle the problem eventually leading to the situation getting out of hand.

If we fail to take the authors line of reasoning seriously, the implications: People will tackle graffiti as it has always been dealt with and not move on to better solutions by taking these explanations of how and why in to consideration.

The main points of view presented in this article: The author believes that people do not really understand what resistance is so cannot tackle it in the right way. He takes a more fair and un-biased approach creating a balance of ideas. The author presents the idea that graffiti for the young people who do it is simply a form of growing up, a way of gaining a feeling belonging and status just like any other youngster would do within a club or organisation. It's a way of life and a way of expressing there views that would other wise be ignored; they just want to be heard. Throughout the article many other peoples points of view are featured so it is fair to say that the author is not being biased.

The Design council, (1979) Design Against Vandalism

The main purpose of this book is to describe some of the measures that local authorities, manufacturers and architects can take to tackle vandalism.

The key question that the author is addressing: What has been done in the past to tackle vandalism, what has worked, what has not and how can we learn from this?

The most important information in this book is the mention and attention payed to schemes that have been done in the past to tackle vandalism.

The key primary and secondary sources used are: There are numerous authors through out the book, some who have had hand on experiences of tackling vandalism as part of a scheme and some who draw information from other peoples experiences, providing a mixture of primary and secondary sources. There is a case study which looks at one scheme in particular in a lot of detail.

The main inferences/ conclusions in this book: Vandalism can be solved but it needs to be tackled in the right way for the area that they are dealing with. They come to the conclusion that vandalism is "one expression of the frustrations and disappointments of a community." This helps us understand why they come to the conclusions of how to tackle it such as management, community groups, feedback, scale and surveillance.

The key concepts we need to understand in this book: You have to understand why people vandalise and what types of vandalism there is. They provide this information at the start of the book so that you can then go on to understand how to deal with vandalism and why certain ways work or fail.

The main assumptions underlying the authors thinking: The authors in the book don't really assume or take any information for granted as they cover every aspect with great detail. Each scheme is drawn upon numerous times and examples are always given to back up points of how actions work or do not work.

If we take this line of reasoning seriously the implications are: If people take what is said in the book seriously then they will learn a tremendous amount of how to tackle vandalism in the correct way for different situations and would hopefully be able to put this knowledge in to practice.

If we fail to take the authors line of reasoning seriously, the implications are: The same problems to do with vandalism will keep occurring as they won't have learnt from past experiences and facts.

The main points of view presented in this book are: Vandalism occurs more often to public property rather than to private property as it is seen to not belong to anyone and one person themselves will not have to deal with the damage. Vandals are less likely to be caught if they do damage to public property as surveillance is not as high. Not all vandalism is purposely done, bad design can create accidental damage and general wear and tare can be seen as vandalism.

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