Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among young people. While tattooing is used as a symbol of personal identity and social communication, few have examined it through a sociological lens. In Tattooed: The Sociogenesis of a Body Art, tattoo enthusiasts share their stories about their bodies and tattooing experiences. Michael Atkinson shows how enthusiasts negotiate and celebrate their ‘difference’ as it relates to the social stigma attached to body art — how the act of tattooing is as much a response to the stigma as it is personal expression, and how a generation has appropriated tattooing as its own symbol of inclusiveness. Atkinson further demonstrates how the displaying of tattooed bodies to others – techniques of disclosure, justification, and representation – has become a part of the shared experience. Cultural sensibilities about tattooing are contextualized against broader trends in body habits, and Atkinson brings to fore research on a wide variety of body projects such as cosmetic surgery, dieting, piercing, branding, and cutting in order to conceptually analyze the enduring social significance of body art. He further employs historical and contemporary theories of the body while also illustrating the general benefit of examining body modification practices through integrated sociological theories.


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