Goldsmiths - University of London

Consuming Colour: A Critical Theory of Colour Concerning the Legality and Implications of Colour in Public Space

Corvette, Michelle Nicole Anderson. 2016. Consuming Colour: A Critical Theory of Colour Concerning the Legality and Implications of Colour in Public Space. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis investigates the legality of colours and the implications of colours within public spaces. By legality of colours, this thesis references the quality or state of being in accordance and observance of laws that address colour. Colour is a phenomenon of visual light perception described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation in tandem with the understanding that colour is a vibrating wavelength interpreted through the brain within a complex neurobiological construction. What are the impacts, force, and agency of colours in public spaces? How do colours re(produce) socio-cultural power relationships in neoliberal societies? How do colours contribute to fixing and replicating social, national, and economic differences? In what ways do colours either implicitly or explicitly work as mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion?

It is argued that colour is a mechanism for the commodification of public spaces within neoliberal societies. By commodification, this thesis refers to the theory used to describe the process by which something that does not have an economic value is assigned a value and thus illustrating how market values can replace other social values. Colour has been controlled, manipulated, and regulated within public spaces by authoritative powers to psychologically influence human populations. Within this argument, a concern for the effects of colour in public spaces has predominately been overshadowed by a concern for capitalization. An understanding of the historical trajectory of the control of colour immersed with the perspicacity of how colour becomes a device of capitalism is essential. Case studies analysed draw attention to utilizations of colour by dominant forms of authority such as the colour elite nexus and government institutions. Colour is revealed to be a process and is therefore multitudinal and complex. The unravelling of these threads will provide a sharpened sense of colour and the implications of colour within public spaces.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Colour, Public Space, Colour Psychology, Capitalism, Neoliberalism, Biopolitics, Perceptual Humanism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 July 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

08 Aug 2016 11:34

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2018 07:01

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/18804

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