1st Edition

Tattooing in Contemporary Society Identity and Authenticity

By Michael Rees Copyright 2022
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    Tattooing has become an increasingly popular phenomenon in the twenty first century, with growing numbers of sports stars and celebrities choosing to go ‘under the needle’ and tattooing regularly featuring in mainstream media. Based on interviews and participant observation at tattoo studios and tattoo conventions, this book investigates the reasons why so many people choose this form of body modification among all the options available to construct their identity. Drawing on Norbert Elias’ figurational sociology, the author considers the importance of the desire to create community with others and to claim an authentic identity among the various reasons for choosing to be tattooed. A study of the connection between body and identity, richly illustrated with empirical material, this book will appeal to sociologists and scholars of cultural studies.


    1. The History of Western Tattooing

    2. A Review of the Current Literature and the Case for Figurational Sociology

    3. Researching Tattoos

    4. A Figurational Understanding of Tattooing

    5. From Outsider to Established: Explaining the Current Popularity and Acceptability of Tattooing

    6. Representing the Self: Deviance and Normality

    7. Quests for Authenticity


    Michael Rees is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Wolverhampton, UK.