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Graffiti and Urban Revolt in Cairo

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This paper focuses on the graffiti which have appeared in Cairo in the aftermath of the removal of Husni Mubarak and the so-called 'Revolution of January 25th'. It is based on a wide photographical corpus put together during 2011 and 2013, as well as interviews with street artists and a media screening on the subject. The paper opens with a short historical note on this exclusive object in the MENA region and also addresses methodological challenges. Then it turns to the analysis of two characteristics of the Cairene graffiti scene. First, it examines the urban dimension that accounts for graffiti as 'par excellence' urban art. Second, it analyses the insurrectionary essence of graffiti which makes them a subversive art form linked to (urban) political activism. It leads to the conclusion that graffiti are used by activists as a genuine, though alternative, media tool.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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