Book Review: Street Art, Public City: Law, Crime and the Urban Imagination. By Alison Young (Routledge, 2014, 177pp. £75.00 hb, £24.99 pb)

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review

Abstract

This is a book about illegal art on the street. It covers a wide range of artistic practice from graffiti through to guerrilla knitting, but with the main focus on ‘street art’. Alison Young offers an intelligent and engaging account of her experiences as ‘a spectator to and researcher of street art’ (p. 9) drawing on ‘two decades looking at art on city walls’ (p. 9). Her research involved what she calls an ‘ethnography of the cityscape’ (p. 91) including interviews with 64 street artists from several cities conducted over a number of years. The book is structured around six substantive chapters interspersed by five vignettes of encounters with street art. Whilst Young has a romanticized view of street art and states, ‘It would be easy to mistake the book’s approach as stemming from an uncritical affection … to assume it is a ‘fanboy’ account’ (p. 33), space is also given to more critical perspectives. The aim is to examine street art through ‘the ways in which affect intersects with notions of property, entitlement, ownership and propriety in urban space’. (p. 33) It is clearly of interest to urban scholars and cultural geographers. It is also of interest to urban and cultural criminologists—as well as wider criminology, especially concerning issues of criminalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages205-208
Volume55
No.1
Specialist publicationThe British Journal of Criminology
PublisherOxford University Press
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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offense
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criminalization
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criminology
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imagination
ethnography
artist
interview

Cite this

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title = "Book Review: Street Art, Public City: Law, Crime and the Urban Imagination. By Alison Young (Routledge, 2014, 177pp. £75.00 hb, £24.99 pb)",
abstract = "This is a book about illegal art on the street. It covers a wide range of artistic practice from graffiti through to guerrilla knitting, but with the main focus on ‘street art’. Alison Young offers an intelligent and engaging account of her experiences as ‘a spectator to and researcher of street art’ (p. 9) drawing on ‘two decades looking at art on city walls’ (p. 9). Her research involved what she calls an ‘ethnography of the cityscape’ (p. 91) including interviews with 64 street artists from several cities conducted over a number of years. The book is structured around six substantive chapters interspersed by five vignettes of encounters with street art. Whilst Young has a romanticized view of street art and states, ‘It would be easy to mistake the book’s approach as stemming from an uncritical affection … to assume it is a ‘fanboy’ account’ (p. 33), space is also given to more critical perspectives. The aim is to examine street art through ‘the ways in which affect intersects with notions of property, entitlement, ownership and propriety in urban space’. (p. 33) It is clearly of interest to urban scholars and cultural geographers. It is also of interest to urban and cultural criminologists—as well as wider criminology, especially concerning issues of criminalisation.",
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Book Review: Street Art, Public City: Law, Crime and the Urban Imagination. By Alison Young (Routledge, 2014, 177pp. £75.00 hb, £24.99 pb). / Millie, Andrew.

In: The British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 55, No. 1, 2015, p. 205-208.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review

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