Date

2018

Department or Program

Political Science

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Nadya Hajj

Additional Advisor(s)

Igor Logvinenko

Abstract

When walking in Jerusalem one cannot help but notice the presence of political and religious street art. Slogans, portraits of political and religious figures, ironic political statements, and religious symbols are spray painted, hung, or plastered in public view. At first glance the city seems to be peppered with political expression originating from authentic roots of civil society- the artisan social commentators. However, upon reflection, one comes to notice that much of the paint is chipped, and the political commentary is no longer relevant to contemporary issues. It is puzzling that a population having just achieved renewed dominant status in a military operation (Operation Protective Edge, 2014), simultaneously experiences a decline in private political-cultural participation, specifically through street art.

This study measures the fluctuations in street art in Jerusalem going back, before summer 2014 to capture the decline in street art during military operations. This study finds that decline in creative class public expression is linked primarily to intervening institutions working to stimulate culture in Jerusalem. We attribute part of this observed cultural lull to such institutions stopping to stimulate culture, specifically, during military operations.

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