Body and Society 5 (2-3):39-50 (1999)

This article argues that tattooing and body piercing in modern societies cannot be naively innocent acts; such activities cannot recapture primitiveness, because they take place within a social context, where social membership is not expressed through hot loyalties and thick commitments. Body marks in primitive society were obligatory signatures of social membership in solidaristic groups, wherein life-cycle changes were necessarily marked by tattooing and scarification. Modern societies are metaphorically like airport departure lounges where passengers are encouraged to be cool and distant, orderly and regulated. The article is thus critical of recent attempts to discover and unearth Dionysian moments of creative tribalism in modern youth groups or working-class communities. Body marks are commercial objects in a leisure marketplace and have become optional aspects of a body aesthetic, which playfully and ironically indicate social membership. They cannot serve as charismatic entrance points to the primitive.
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DOI 10.1177/1357034x99005002003
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References found in this work BETA

Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity.Ulrich Beck, Mark Ritter & Jennifer Brown - 1993 - Environmental Values 2 (4):367-368.
The Concept of the Political.Carl Schmitt - 1996 - University of Chicago Press.

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An Essential Marking.Stephen Pritchard - 2001 - Theory, Culture and Society 18 (4):27-45.

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