cover of book

Customizing the Body: The Art and Culture of Tattooing
by Clinton Sanders and D Angus Vail
Temple University Press, 2008
eISBN: 978-1-59213-889-0 | Paper: 978-1-59213-888-3 | Cloth: 978-1-59213-887-6
Library of Congress Classification GT2345.S26 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 391.65


Originally published in 1989, this ground-breaking ethnographic exploration of tattooing—and the art world surrounding it—covers the history, anthropology and sociology of body modification practices; the occupational experience of the tattooist; the process and social consequences of becoming a tattooed person; and the prospects of "serious" tattooing becoming an accepted art form. Curiously, despite the greater prevalence of tattoos and body modification in today’s society, there is still a stigma of deviance associated with people who get or ink tattoos.

Retaining the core of the original book, this revised and expanded edition offers a new preface by the author and a new chapter focusing on the changes that have occurred in the tattoo world. A section on the new scholarly literature that has emerged, as well as the new modes of body modification that have come into vogue are included along with a new gallery of photographs that shows some splendid examples of contemporary tattoo art. A directory of artists' websites invites readers to discover the range of work being done around the world—from “suits” (full body tattoos) to skulls.

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