The somatechnics of bodily inscription: Tattooing

Nikki Sullivan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In the vast majority of accounts of tattooing, the tattooed body is conceived as the external expression of an inner self. From this conventional humanist understanding of the body/subject it follows that the individual's character and/or intentions can be deciphered simply reading his or her skin. Interestingly, these assumptions have informed the work of criminologists and psychologists who have historically viewed tattooing as a sign of antisocial tendencies and also the work of counterculturalists who are critical of the conclusions drawn by the former. In this paper, I critically analyze these accounts, the assumptions that inform them, and the lived-effects they produce, in turn deploying the notion of somatechnics to offer an alternative approach to bodily inscription.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Gender and Sexuality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'The somatechnics of bodily inscription: Tattooing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this