Painting infrastructure

I wonder if graffitti could be a “strategic research site” for scholars of art, sociology, and infrastructure. In the New York Times today, a story line reads “Cities Report Surge in Graffitti” (see also these slides).

An upturn in graffiti has renewed debates about whether it signifies alienation in struggling areas or whether its glorification contributes to urban blight.

It raises an issue I have not yet heard discussed and that is that infrastructure might be modified through simply changing its exterior appearance, in this case, via graffitti. In a way, this would imply individuals “tagging” infrastructure as an indicator of, for example, its quality, which would then contribute to, if not certify, the current state of affairs. I guess I don’t know of any research that theorize the influence on infrastructure of is “wrappings” (shall we say).

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

One thought on “Painting infrastructure

  1. In a quick discussion over this topic, "skins" was a suggestion for future research — as in, skin for your blog, music player, etc.

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