In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification
TThe 1990s saw the dramatic rise of spectacular forms of body modification, which included the tattoo renaissance and the rise in body piercing, the emergence of neo-tribal practices like scarification and flesh hanging, and the invention of new, high-tech forms of body art like subdermal implants. This book, based on years of interviews with body modifiers throughout the United States, is both sympathetic and critical and provides the most comprehensive look at this phenomenon. From punk rock to "modern primitives," from queer sadomasochism to cyberpunks, sociologist Victoria Pitts provides insight into the full range of body modification subcultures. Whether by turning themselves into female punks, neo-tribal "primitives" or science fiction cyborgs, body modifiers are engaged in the project of "reclaiming" their bodies from the machine of modern life. Pitts explores the connections between body modification and contemporary struggles over sex and gender, and widespread attitudes about identity, consumption, and the body.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Both fascinating and frightening, Pitts' look at body modification and the surrounding cultural politics is both encompassing and detailed enough to provide various case studies and examples. While her chapters sometimes seem clouded with theoretical terms, each discussion is then made concrete with specifics and detailed case studies that clarify the theory and politics surrounding each subject. As a whole, each chapter then works as a focused and critical discussion. The topics under consideration include (among others): body art technologies, body politics, feminist debates around body modifications, tattoos and piercings, modern primitivism, cyberpunk, bio-medicine, implants, cosmetic surgery, and body modifications of all kinds (from the most pedestrian to the most extreme), along with their intersections and relations with subcultures such as S/M and punk. As a whole, Pitts' study is comprehensive and worth pursuing for anyone interested in the topics under discussion. Her inclusion of debates (and counter-points) make for a well-rounded overview that outlines objective ground while still clearly showing the more subjective concerns that she holds, as well as the concerns and voices made clear by those directly engaged in body modifications. If you're interested, this is indeed absolutely recommended.
Review: In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body ModificationUser Review - Sumayyah - Goodreads
Wonderfully researched.. but full of white middle-class appropriation. *sigh* Her main focus seems to be on the white people who have adopted and reinvented (stole and appropriated) native/indigenous rituals and practices. Read full review