Marks of Mischief: Becoming and Being Tattooed

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Sanders, C. R.
Year of Publication: 1988
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
Volume: 16
Pagination: 395-432
Publication Language: eng

Following a general discussion of body alteration practices and a presentation of the history of tattooing in Western culture, this article focuses on the process a person goes through in deciding to be tattooed and the effect of this decision on the tattooee's self-definition and social experience. The data are drawn from six years of participant observation in a variety of tattoo settings, 163 structured questionnaires, and 16 lengthy, semistructured interviews with tattooed people. The importance of the tattoo as both a “mark of disaffiliation” from conventional society and a symbolic affirmation of personal identity and association is emphasized.

DOI: 10.1177/0891241688164001
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