Based on three years of ethnographic research undertaken in London amongst a loose network of what British Transport Police term ‘serious graffiti vandals’, this article considers how we might conceive theoretically of the interrelationships between graffiti writing, urban space and social control. The article proceeds in two parts. By way of introduction, the first half of the article delineates some of the major subcultural elements that comprise the day-to-day practice of graffiti writing as it exists in present-day London. The second half of the article engages the theoretical work of Henri Lefebvre. It is suggested that graffiti can be understood as simultaneously disrupting authoritative spatial orderings, whilst superimposing its own alternative social geography onto the city.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (ISTD). The attached document (embargoed until 31/07/2019) is an author produced version of a paper published in The British Journal of Criminology, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azx040. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it