The Tattoo Renaissance: An Ethnogrpahic Account of Symbolic Consumer Behavior

Anne M. Velliquette, University of Arkansas
Jeff B. Murray, University of Arkansas
Elizabeth H. Creyer, University of Arkansas


This article presents an ethnographic account of product symbolism and fashion imagery within a segment of the consumer culture. This segment has emerged as an effect of the tattoo Renaissance and is referred to as the New Tattoo Subculture. After developing a historical interpretation, four a priori themes are discussed (i.e., Renaissance, extended self, risk, and satisfaction/addiction). Ethnographic support was found for these themes as well as two emerging themes (i.e., design versus act and the simulated self). The article concludes by exploring the implications of tattooing for identity formation.

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