In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification
Palgrave Macmillan, May 16, 2003 - 256 pages
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.