4496 - Does Latin American graffiti promotes "peace"?

Graffiti, as a cultural practice, has been adopted by several groups in our Latin American scenarios. This paper pretends to diagnose and to show how graffiti could be interpreted according to its content, the motivations of its producers and its use of space. Besides that, the current interpretation of graffiti as "vandalism" would be analyzed as a political weapon to control and stigmatize "minorities". This paper summaries the state of the art of the current knowledge about graffiti production worldwide and to suggest some general lines of interpretation according to the Latin American context. The use of photographies in Brazil and Costa Rica allow us to deepen on the motivations, strategies, messages, symbols and other signs, trying to understand graffiti as a message and going beyong the "obvious" lecture of this phenomenon. The selected images will show how graffiti includes "symbolic violence" as it is perceived by its producers. (This paper is part of the current introductory chapter of my Ph.D. in Sociology)

Keywords: graffiti, political struggles, stigma, visual sociology

Author: Araya López, Alexander (Freie Uni Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)


University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575