Becoming heavily tattooed in the postmodern West: sacred rite, 'Modern Primitivism', or profane simulation?

This paper was produced for partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Hons.). 

This thesis critically examines Modern Primitives by investigating the origin of its ideas, the epistemological climate in which it developed, and its influence on contemporary ideas about tattoo. Then, through an analysis of contemporary qualitative studies, it asks whether becoming heavily tattooed in the postmodern West can still be sacred or transformative when divorced from Modern Primitivist philosophies. In so doing, it explores: tattoo as profane simulation, tattoo as a means of constructing and manifesting identity, and the function of pain in encountering the sacred through tattoo.

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