Presentation Title

Capturing Eternity - The Narratives of Tattoos: An Ethno-Drama

Location

Room 2905 B

Session Format

Roundtable or Panel

Research Area Topic:

Education & Learning - Curriculum & Instruction

Roundtable Presentation Participants

Diana F. Bishop, Ed.D. student

Co-Presenters, Co- Authors, Co-Researchers, Mentors, or Faculty Advisors

Dr. Amelia Davis

Abstract

In 2013, almost one-third of Americans under the age of 45 had at least one tattoo. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what do these tattoos tell us about their owners? This qualitative study explored the narratives of tattooed persons based upon three field observations and four interviews held over a three month period at a tattoo studio in outskirts of a large city located in the southern United States. Research questions focused on the participants' motivations for acquiring a tattoo and the exploration of the narrative regarding the tattoos. Participants included tattoo artists, their apprentices, and their clients; and consisted of males and females of multiple ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Findings revealed that the majority of tattoos represented a difficult event which the participant had experienced and survived. Tattoos, therefore, become memoria centering on three primary narrative themes: self-motivation, family commitment, and trauma. Consequently due to the permanent nature of tattoos, tattooed persons are predominately very thoughtful in the design and placement of the artwork and as a result have few regrets. Research also revealed connections between tattoos and gang activity, tattoos and masochism, and tattoos and sexism which warrant further study. Results are presented in the form of an ethno-drama of four soliloquies.

Keywords

Tattoos, Narratives, Qualitative, Ethnodrama, Trauma, Gangs

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-24-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 5:00 PM

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Apr 24th, 4:00 PM Apr 24th, 5:00 PM

Capturing Eternity - The Narratives of Tattoos: An Ethno-Drama

Room 2905 B

In 2013, almost one-third of Americans under the age of 45 had at least one tattoo. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what do these tattoos tell us about their owners? This qualitative study explored the narratives of tattooed persons based upon three field observations and four interviews held over a three month period at a tattoo studio in outskirts of a large city located in the southern United States. Research questions focused on the participants' motivations for acquiring a tattoo and the exploration of the narrative regarding the tattoos. Participants included tattoo artists, their apprentices, and their clients; and consisted of males and females of multiple ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Findings revealed that the majority of tattoos represented a difficult event which the participant had experienced and survived. Tattoos, therefore, become memoria centering on three primary narrative themes: self-motivation, family commitment, and trauma. Consequently due to the permanent nature of tattoos, tattooed persons are predominately very thoughtful in the design and placement of the artwork and as a result have few regrets. Research also revealed connections between tattoos and gang activity, tattoos and masochism, and tattoos and sexism which warrant further study. Results are presented in the form of an ethno-drama of four soliloquies.