Place-Based Elicitation: Interviewing Graffiti Writers at the Scene of the Crime

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23 Scopus citations


Interviews conducted in situ—literally at “the scene of the crime”1—can elicit more nuanced data than interviews conducted in locations removed from where the activity in question occurred. This is particularly true when conducting research on and with members of spatially conscious, “deviant,” and vulnerable communities who may for the sake of social and existential survival defer to rehearsed narratives and formula stories about their actions and perspectives when interviewed in “safe” spaces. In this article, which is based on participant observation and structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews with 108 graffiti writers, I contend that place-based elicitation can provide researchers with greater exposure to extradiscursive expression, reflection, and affective narratives about transgressive and illicit subcultural activity. The method of place-based elicitation has implications for where and how ethnographers and other qualitative researchers conduct interviews and seek to extract nuanced data from respondents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-198
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • elicitation
  • extradiscursivity
  • graffiti
  • interviewing
  • narrativity
  • place

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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