To date, most discussions and analyses of strategic communications within the context of International Relations and Security Studies focus on the linguistic realm. Those that do recognise the power and role of images in these domains, particularly as they reflect upon the contemporary image wars waged by IS and other insurgent groups, tend to focus on the virtual realm of social media and globalized news networks. This article aims instead to articulate a methodological framework for understanding the force and potential of a distinctively spatial and material form of communication: graffiti. Taking Athens as a case study, the article articulates graffiti’s role as a form of strategic communications in areas of social and political crisis, and further suggests its value as a non-violent means of negotiating conflict in areas with limited avenues for democratic expression. 

Keywords: graffiti, image war, strategic narratives, influence, soft power, strategic communication, strategic communications 

About the authors 

Dr Anna Marazuela Kim is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at University College London and Associate Fellow of the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications. Her research focuses on histories, theories and ethics of the image and conflict.

Tara Flores holds an MA in International Relations from King’s College London and is an Account Executive at Portland Communications in London. 


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