Sociology defines culture as something we do (social practices). It involves using things such as dress and food to communicate our social belonging to particular groups, as well as using other physical resources (materials). For example, wealth influences our ideas about what “good” culture is or isn’t. If you’re middle class you may see graffiti as a nuisance, but if you’re poor or working class street art is a form of social resistance and community expression. Continue reading Sociology of Culture
A mix of the sacred versus the profane in Melbourne’s street art. We see the divinity of Ganesh next to lurid creatures and painted rubbish bins. All so profoundly beautiful, in the majestic Hosier Lane. I’ve been working on a post about the socialisation of street artists. Terrific early research from New York in the early 80s show how street artists progress from tagging to building their reputations on murals. The research focuses on how novices learn from experienced artists as well as the problems that emerge between these networks once individuals start selling their work.
Students from Mansoura, a city two hours north of Cairo in Egypt, put on an art show of their graffiti in late December. These street artists use their creations to protest against the injustice being committed by the Egyptian authorities.
The first image is found all over the city. It shows a soldier zipping up his pants. The writing reads something to the effect of “I am free to piss on my people”.
The second image says: “Down with military rule.”
The centrepiece is a stenciled image of a photograph that caused international anger, of riot police dragging a woman whilst ripping her shirt open. It reads: “Would you accept this for your mother?? Would you accept this for your sister??”
The final image reads: “NO SCAF” (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces).
This iconic image of Che Guevara is widely known in many parts of the world. I see it used a lot by sociology students who are eagerly exploring their sociological imaginations. As far as visual sociology goes, this image continues to inspire interest in Marxist sociology and it is used frequently in political protests, such as the Occupy movement. Stephen Colbert even dressed as Che in spoof as he set out to Occupy Occupy Wall Street. Che’s image has also been amalgamated with the unofficial face of the Occupy movement, Guy Fawkes (hero of V for Vendetta) and repacked as an Occupy t-shirt.