Synopses & Reviews
TThe 1990s saw the dramatic rise of spectacular forms of body modification, which included the tattoo renaissance and the rise in body piercing, the emergence of neo-tribal practices like scarification and flesh hanging, and the invention of new, high-tech forms of body art like subdermal implants. This book, based on years of interviews with body modifiers throughout the United States, is both sympathetic and critical and provides the most comprehensive look at this phenomenon. From punk rock to "modern primitives," from queer sadomasochism to cyberpunks, sociologist Victoria Pitts provides insight into the full range of body modification subcultures. Whether by turning themselves into female punks, neo-tribal "primitives" or science fiction cyborgs, body modifiers are engaged in the project of "reclaiming" their bodies from the machine of modern life. Pitts explores the connections between body modification and contemporary struggles over sex and gender, and widespread attitudes about identity, consumption, and the body.
A critical look at the subcultures of body piercing and tattooing.
The 1990s saw a dramatic rise of spectacular body modification subcultures, which included the practices of piercing, tattooing, scarification, subdermal implants, flesh hanging performances, and the like. This book, based on years of interviews with body modifiers, provides insight into the full range of body modification subcultures, from punk rock to "modern primitives," from queer S&M to cyberpunks. Victoria Pitts critically explores the way that these subcultural groups are negotiating, and sometimes transforming, the social, political, and psychological significance of bodies in the postmodern world. Whether by turning themselves into neo-tribal "primitives" or science fiction cyborgs, body modifiers are engaged in the project of reclaiming their bodies from the machine of modern life. Pitts considers this project in the context of debates within cultural studies, feminism, queer theory, postcolonial theory, and cyberstudies.
". . . a fascinating and sensitive look at body modification subcultures and the political debates surrounding them."-Patricia Clough, author of Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology
"The book refreshingly moves the arresting figure of the extreme body modifier out of the realm of the pathological and the masochistic and reveals how these practices and their disturbing embodiments challenge the tyrannical concept of normalcy that keeps the rest of us narrowly in check."--Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University
A captivating and comprehensive exploration of body art.
About the Author
teaches sociology at Queens College CUNY. She lives in New York.