Re: mutilation and ritual

Arthur L. Baron (abaron@STU.ATHABASCAU.CA)
Tue, 9 Jul 1996 12:42:53 MDT

> > I think its importnat to talk about these
> > subcultures separately.
> I agree with Beth. Each tattoo is an individual expression - and so is a
> means of expressing uniqueness or alignment. Has anyone given thought to
> whether being tattooed makes one a member of a subculture or whether being in
> a sub-culture makes one more inclined to get a tattoo. Is a tattoo or a
> piercing a mark of marginilazation in Western culture?
> - Adrienne

Many of the comments regarding this discussion have been organized around the
questions above. Are we not a collection of marginalized groups in Western
culture? I think that people need to belong to or align themself with a group
- inclusion is much better than exclusion. Some Native groups punish by
banishment or excile from the group; by contrast are Western prison systems
groups waiting to happen. Anthro-L is a marginalized group, not quite yet the
centre of the universe. Participation here is an individual act/choice and is
done for many varying personal reasons. Now ask several listowners why
participants get involved and I'll bet the answers will be more narrowly
defined, freedom of speech would be a standard response. Translation, group
reasons will be less dipersed than individual reasons, therefore, study the
group with respect to gaining an insight to the individual (statistically
stereotyping). Group reasons tend to have a higher value than individual reason
- free speech has a higher value than ... I felt like it.

However, I'm not yet prepared to commit to the permanence of the group by
marking my body to display an abstract allegiance.

Is the process of tattoo more Zen-like than the final product ... is it an
ongoing process?

Zen maxim ... ownership without use is material abuse.

Arthur Baron
(I saw it through the hole in my brain)