Subcultural Research Brief on Graffiti

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We explored subculture in Week 8. This assignment asks you to choose one historical or contemporary subculture and prepare a research brief that explains and interprets your research. Using library resources, prepare a research document that describes your subculture’s origins, dress practices, political stance, and cultural activities.

You’ll need to do the following:

  • Choose one subculture from the list —- I chose graffiti
  • Perform outside research and collect data – visit the New School/NYU libraries and use academic databases to find scholarly written research about your subculture. (Limit websites/social media, etc.)… This is the link to school library, try to find all source on this web, if u can’t, make all citation looks like from this source.

  • Document your findings in the brief, using citations and quotations as evidence to support your answers.

Here are the components you should include and the questions you should answer:

  • Origins
    • Who was/is a member of this subculture? When and where did this subculture emerge?
    • How did it develop? Did it grow out of or provide an alternative to existing subcultures?
  • Dress Practices
    • What do members of this subculture wear? What characterizes their appearance (hair, makeup, accessories, for example)? Has their look been adopted by the fashion industry – if so, how?
    • Does dress differ according to gender, ethnicity, age, or location? If so, what are the differences?
  • Political/Economic Stance
    • What values and opinions do members of this subculture demonstrate? What attitudes and ideas do they try to convey? How active/political are they? What class relationships do they express?
    • How do their dress practices convey these values, ideas, attitudes, and opinions?
  • Cultural Activities
    • What objects do members of this subculture use? What activities do they perform?
    • How do their dress practices align with these objects and activities? (That is to say, why do they wear what they to do what they do?) (Think: homology and bricolage.)
  • Images: Include at least two images that support your research. Include them at the end of your brief or alongside one of the components above. Cite the source of your images.
  • Bibliography: Cite your sources according to Chicago style, and include every source that you use in a bibliography at the end of the brief. Use at least 5 to 7 separate sources, and limit non-scholarly sources.

ANY and ALL outside information needs to be accompanied by a citation. Papers that do not include citations or a bibliography will receive an automatic zero grade.


  • Develop a timeline, plan ahead, and keep good notes. Spend one week researching your subculture and finding your quotes and evidence, and one week writing and revising.
  • Wikipedia and Google are good first steps but you need to go beyond that to do well on the assignment. Make the librarians your friends. Make an appointment with them to find the academic sources you need.
  • Each component of your research brief should be written out (not bullet points). Each component should be at least 250-300 words (1000-1200 words overall).
  • Unlike the earlier assignments, which drew on personal experience, this assignment asks you to interpret outside research and limit personal opinion. Think of it as an encyclopedia entry rather than a diary or log.

You will be graded on how well you meet the requirements listed above, as well as the following criteria:

  • Clear and thoughtful summarization of your subculture
  • Generous, explicit, and thoughtful connection to the sources of your research
  • Ample citations, quotations, and a bibliography formatted according to Chicago style
  • Clear writing and evidence of editing and proofreading

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