The Art of Pain

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Due to its unavoidably painful dimensions, tattooing practice is set in a sometimes uncomfortable parallel position with the bio-medical practice. The challenging aspect, and derivated marginal social status, of tattoos may be beyond the purely aesthetic and part of a particular Humanist agenda concerned with the eradication of suffering. Pain and suffering are inherent to the human condition itself and the paper reflects some alternative views and values expressed by tattoo practitioners regarding the constructive and formative dimensions of contemporary painful rituals. Overall, the paper presents the underlying, and often understated, importance of pain to the tattooing practice.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2006

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  • Fashion Theory takes as its starting point a definition of “fashion” as the cultural construction of the embodied identity. The importance of studying the body as a site for the deployment of discourses has been well established in a number of disciplines. Until Fashion Theorys launch in 1997 the dressed body had suffered from a lack of critical analysis. Increasingly scholars have recognized the cultural significance of self-fashioning, including not only clothing but also such body alterations as tattooing and piercing.

    Fashion Theory provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the rigorous analysis of cultural phenomena. Its peer-reviewed articles range from foot-binding to fashion advertising.
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