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"Voices from the Walls: Graffiti and the Integration of Class and Ethnicity into Modern Social Movement Theory" by Malvina Gregory, Bryn Mawr College, 1997

ABSTRACT: Modern social movement theory has split its focus into two camps, one which focuses on the structural causation of lower class labor movements (Resource Mobilization theory) and one which focuses on identity-oriented middle-class movements (New Social Movement theory). Both schools of thought prove inadequate for explaining the dynamics within the graffiti movement. Born of the structural deprivation suffered by black and latino youths in the United State's inner cities, graffiti has served as a means for the youths to reshape and restructure their self-identities and their perceptions of their environment. In addition, it has been found that the published media (magazines and the internet) brings images of graffiti to the middle class suburbs, the internalized self identity of graffiti artists may be shifting as structural motivations for participation shift. The graffiti community has seen an increase in the number of white graffiti artists and a simultaneous decrease in the number of black graffiti artists. Without a doubt the racial distribution of the graffiti movement has altered dramatically from almost a purely black and latino community to one now primarily composed of whites and latinos.  
 

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Last modified May 20, 1999