A tattoo is a design made under the skin with ink or other pigment. Usually decorative or symbolic. It’s a type of body modification.
• To join the others in a changing society
Sometimes body modification are linked with a separation with the rest of society. But they generate two paralelle movement: detachment from one side and affiliation on the other side. Tattoos then become become a mark that show memebership to particular urban tribe. The body works then as a banner showing values, sexual and cultural orientations etc…But those claims are not link to something solid because there’s no organisation nor political or cultural that uses tattoo as a reference, at least in modern societies. So this is the contrary of the original tribes but in the frame of a personal claim more or less know by the others. Even if those small groups get tattooed to seal a common link like a strong friendschip. But this type of affiliation is pretty rare. Tattoo doesn’t show the memebership to a tribe, a closed group but rather to an informal group where recognise their memebership when they see tattoo on each others. The notion of tribe is not used. The point is more to get out of something than to get in; to feel transformed by the tattoo. Bikers whom the tattoos are more homogenic and built around the passion of Harley Davidson, they are probably the only group link to the tribal notion. We can see here a paralelle with the primitive societies where the place in the group and the respect were linked with marks in the flesh of the individuals. In these circumstance tattoo is a condition of memebership to a group. But the majority of the tattooed don’t gather and claim themselves as a community. They consider their tattoo as personal as well as their memory. They are isolated or in small groups and only want to say via theirs tattoos their taste for a music style, a religious reference. But they do it without feeling included in a fashion. So we can wonder if this so called social role of tattoo is not only a paralell with value overthrow that we see those days. In fact this phenomenon doesn’t lead to communotarism and is not into the frame of modern society in it’s globality even it’s quite well accepted. So does it enable to get integrated into society? we can suppose that the answer is yes if we go back enough in the definition of our moden societies. In fact the modern society evolved with the economical liberal values brought by capitalism to a new individual vision. Every individual of our societies received shortly a great autonomy. So it’s up to everyone to chose it’s way when the old institutions are falling apart.
Religion, school, even the State itself has lost their influence on the individuals and from all this freedom has grown a new problematic of modernity. How do individuals are creating their identities without the help of these old frames? How to built one’s identity in this frame more and more loose?
Body modifications are playing with different elements that seems pretty far: communautarism, collection of different religious thoughts and the role of “limite” of the individual itself.
Wether it is by spirituality or the body, what people want nowadays is the reconstruction of an identity chosen volountarly. The quest of their own lives is a hughe ground of culture and practice mixing so that everyone can create it’s own “identity bubble”. Thriving on helplessness and individualism the tirst of identity announce changes. We can find in all this common element a will to expose one’s difference, the crazy quest of oneself in the eye of the others, the pride of being like no other, and the hope to have found one’s true self. We have to invent ourselves. Never in the western democracies the choices of way of life have benn so numerous. we never talked so much of identity. We undergo less and less the family and social determinism. To built oneself, we have to close this ladscape of possibility: the identity will comes out of a selection between images, desires, projects, ideas. We gonna chose who we want to be. AND it’s not easy! Everyone become officaly responsible for it’s success and failure. So in order to know who we are we are going to chose into the “menu” of the new religion, regionalism, commercial marking, ethnical pride etc…Now identity is a personal creation even if we still obey to some dark norms. From this point of view tattoo becomes an element like the other that you can chose by affinity with it’s legendary meaning or aesthetical. Society doesn’t force peole anymore to conform the mdoel it was. Nowadays it offers an absolute choice of construction of the meaning of life to it’s inhabitants. Tattoo don’t have a meaning by itself we give one to it; it has lost the global social meaning of the prilmitve societies.
Body modifications got a futur in our modern societies. In fact the passion they create is just the begining, their existences is normalised and the datas that encourage it are still spreading through out the population. The problem was to grow weary about the design of the tattoo and it is solved. thanx to the programed tattoo. the design is visible trough the skin and one can transform it thanx to a micro chip implanted under the skin.
Nowadays the personal identity is never finished it can be remodeled constantly according to the circumstancies. By changing it’s body one surch to change it’s existence. Body modification is a symbolical limit designed on the skin. And as the construction of the personality has no limit and so is the way to individualised and to build those identities. So tattoo as a bearer of symbol has a future in our modern society.
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