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Title: Resistance in space : graffiti writers, skateboarders and the production of Manchester
Author: Yusuff, Stephen Ayobami
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 9852
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2009
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The main phenomena the thesis seeks to understand are resistance and space. The aims of the thesis are theoretical and empirical. Theoretically, the thesis examines different perspectives on resistance and space and draws on them to provide useful insights on the concepts. Empirically, it explores the experiences of skateboarders and graffiti writers in Manchester. The literature on graffiti writers and skateboarders often mentions 'resistance' in relation to the activities of the two groups. Such work, however, usually does not engage in a detailed, conceptual investigation of the concept and usually assumes rather than demonstrate how the use of the concept can be justified by reference to the day-to-day activities of the two groups (see for example Ferrell 1993, 1995, Borden 2001 and Flusty 2000). This thesis aims to fill this gap. The frrst chapter provides an introduction to the thesis. The second chapter explores perspectives on resistance. As the thesis progressed empirically, it became very pertinent to conceptually investigate the subject of space and this is the focus of the third chapter. The fourth chapter discusses the methodology and research design of the thesis. The necessity of demonstrating concretely what work the theoretical insights of the space chapter could do resulted in a fifth chapter on Manchester. In this chapter, Manchester as space and as the site of the empirical investigation of this thesis is explored. The sixth chapter presents themes that emerged from fieldwork with Manchester graffiti writers and skateboarders. The conclusion chapter draws together the main themes and arguments of the thesis. One of the main arguments of the thesis is that Manchester, the site of the empirical interests of the study, can be seen as a space over which diverse groups struggle. This struggle, it is argued, is brought about by the divergent interests and visions of different groups in the city. These groups are seen as all attempting in various ways to bring about spatial realities that accord with their interests. In this multiple enactment of spatial realities some social actors have greater resources at their disposal to bring to pass their interests in Manchester as space. These are 'the powerful'. There are other 'producers of space' - the weak or the 'less powerful' - these have relatively marginal resources in appropriating Manchester's spaces. The thesis argues that skateboarders and graffiti writers fall into this category. When their interests and visions in Manchester fall foul of the interests of more powerful groups,conflict, the thesis shows, ensues. It is in this conflict in definitions of Manchester as a resource for the enactment of interests that we find the skateboarder's and graffiti writer's resistance. The skateboarder and graffiti writer finds that to play in the city can bring him/her in conflict with the law. Subcultural members find out in the course of playing in the city that their activities are defined differendy by more powerful groups. What seems to be merely play turns out to be defined as crime and 'anti-social behaviour' by groups with the backing of the law. By insisting on engaging in what may be described as 'dissident play', members set themselves in opposition and resistance to certain aspects of the governance of space in the city. The thesis also brings to prominence theoretical insights that can be found in the literature on resistance and space and provides ways of approaching the subjects that may prove useful for future work in the areas.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available