University of Oulu

Daniele Valisena & Roger Norum (2019) Bin ich ein Berliner? Graffiti as layered public archive and socio-ecological methodology, Green Letters, 23:1, 83-102, DOI: 10.1080/14688417.2019.1602069

Bin ich ein Berliner? : graffiti as layered public archive and socio-ecological methodology

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Author: Valisen, Daniele1; Norum, Roger2
Organizations: 1Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm 100 44, Sweden
2Faculty of Humanities/Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-10-02


In this article, we discuss the role played by graffiti in representing, fomenting and studying binary and non-binary sentiments of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Through asocio-textual analysis of examples of public anti-gentrification and anti-touristification protest graffiti in Berlin, we consider the complex layers of history, identity, mobility, community and environment which have been folded onto one another throughout the city over the past decades. By investigating the textual politics of belonging and self as shown through the lens of graffiti, we argue that representational analyses of so-called banal public texts can help to comprehend the complexities that lie behind binary socio-cultural categories (e.g. local/non-local. In exploring some of the defining characteristics that distinguish ecocritical from environmental humanities approaches to critique, the article posits how multiple disciplines—even those well outside humanities subjects—might well be able to benefit from the humanities’ distinct approaches to cultural, or indeed social, analysis.

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Series: Green letters. Studies in ecocriticism
ISSN: 1468-8417
ISSN-E: 2168-1414
ISSN-L: 1468-8417
Volume: 23
Issue: 1
Pages: 83 - 102
DOI: 10.1080/14688417.2019.1602069
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This article has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 642935. The article has also received support from the Relational and Territorial Politics of Bordering, Identities and Transnationalization (RELATE) Center of Excellence, University of Oulu.
Copyright information: © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.