Tattoos are a highly visible social and cultural sight, from TV series that represent the lives of tattoo artists and their interactions with clients, to world-class sports stars and the social actors we meet on a daily basis who display visible tattoo designs. Whereas in the not-to-distant past tattoos were commonly culturally perceived to represent an outward sign of social non-conformity or even deviance, tattoos now increasingly transcend class, gender, and age boundaries and arguably are now more culturally acceptable than they have ever been. But why is this the case, and why do so many social actors elect to wear tattoos? Tattoo Culture explores these questions from historical, cultural and media perspectives, but also from the heart of the culture itself, from the dynamics of the tattoo studio, the work of the artist and the world of the tattoo convention, to the perspective of the social actors who bear designs to investigate the meanings which lie being the images.
It critically examines the ways in which tattoos alter social actors' sense of being and their relationship with time in the semiotic ways with which they communicate, to themselves or to the wider world, key elements of their bodily and personal identity and sense of being.
Lee Barron is a Principal Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Northumbria.
Introduction / Part I Culture & Theory / 1. From Otzi to Trash Polka: Reading Tattoos / 2. Celebrity Skin: Tattoos and Popular Culture/ 3. Theorising Ink: Tattooing as Semiotic Communication and Phenomenological Expression/ Part II Ethnographies of Ink / 4. Tattoos as Communicative Practice and Phenomenological Expression: The Tattooed Perspective/ 5. Needle Work: Tattoo Artists and the Studio Space/ 6. Tattoo Conventions: Fandom and Participatory Art Worlds Worlds / 7. Tattoo Culture: Transformation, Being, and Time / Conclusion / Index