Mutilation and ritual

Sat, 13 Jul 1996 00:09:30 EDT

concerning tattooing and body piercing, I do think this is a matter
worthy of further inquiry. Of course, there is a significant body of
literature addressing tattooing, body piercing and other mutilations
practised by cultures from the arctic to the deserts, there has been
little sustained inquiry concerning the import of these practices in
contemporary Western culture -- at least that I know of.
I would like to know what the significance of location is with
respect to tattoos and body piercing; certainly some are meant to be
seen -- indeed, cannot go un-noticed -- but do these have the same
import as those customarily hidden from view ? I am curious about this
primarily because I have an interest in the import of regions of the
body; that is to say, why some cultures localise vital or 'significant'
functions in one region, or why some organs or parts may not be
exhibited and so forth. I have found little information about this in
the anthropological literature, but strangely enough Michel Foucault
gives it some well deserved attention in his series concerning the
history of sexuality and his book about the development of penality in
Western Europe and North America.
Any suggestions to relevant literature would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,