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, there has been little sociological study of the phenomenon. 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 a form of 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 discussed within historical context and in relation to broader trends in body modification, such as cosmetic surgery, dieting, and piercing.
The author also employs research from a number of disciplines, as well as contemporary sociological and postmodern theory to analyse the enduring social significance of body art.