The Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art is a new release, edited by Jeffrey Ian Ross, which aims to be a comprehensive reference on the subject. At nearly five-hundred pages the book is pretty mega with contributions from a whole range of experts on a number of different topics. Inside there are thirty-five chapters that are split into four key areas. The first is a look at the different types of graffiti, some historical, and what their meanings are. After is a section that focuses on the theory behind the study of graffiti and street art. This is followed up with examples of different place specific graffiti and finally seven chapters around what effect graffiti has on areas such as policy, culture, or mainstream art. As there’s just so much content in the book it’s been a bit hard to work out where to begin. I was particularly interested by certain themes that kept cropping up through the book so decided to focus on a couple of them. The first of these is how discussion of graffiti, more often than not, revolves around issues of contested urban space, state control and gentrification. Graffiti is closely tied up with the effects of neoliberalism which is discussed a lot in the book. Another interesting topic is female participation and the role of gender within the graffiti subculture. After this I dip into two of the chapters from the theory section and then end by briefly outlining a few other chapters to give a better idea of the range of content. As already mentioned this book is pretty thorough and what’s covered here is only a small sample of that.

Continue Reading