The mediatization of deviant subcultures: an analysis of the media-related practices of graffiti writers and skaters
Keywords:mediatization, subcultures, graffiti writing, skating
This article studies the mediatization of criminal and deviant subcultures by analyzing the media-related practices of graffiti writers and skaters in Ghent, Belgium. The ethnographic analysis shows how these subcultures orient themselves toward media and how media become an essential part of and change their everyday practices. Three consequences of this mediatization are highlighted: First, by emphasizing their artistic and performative skills through the mediation of their practices, these subcultures start losing their rebellious and oppositional image. Second, as such, it can be observed that they increasingly become part of mainstream culture. Third, our analysis demonstrates how the mediatization of subcultural groups and their practices goes hand in hand with their commercialization and commodification, as they engage in recording and disseminating their work not only for artistic reasons but also as a means of acquiring sponsorship deals and job opportunities.
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