A captivating and comprehensive exploration of body art.
Drawing on 20 in-depth interviews and other extensive research, Pitts (sociology, Queens Coll., CUNY) examines several segments of the body modification community and theorizes about the broader cultural and societal implications. The body modifications considered are extreme-scarification, branding, and implants (with some subjects performing their own surgery)-but Pitts argues against depicting these practices as self-mutilation, placing them instead on a spectrum of body modification that includes cosmetic surgery and BotoxR injections. The groups considered are women who see body modification as a way of reclaiming their bodies, usually after an experience of abuse; radical gays and lesbians fighting oppression and assimilation; "modern primitives" who adopt tribal practices from other cultures; and "cyberpunks" who seek to move beyond the limits of the natural body through technology. All these groups seek a meaningful experience beyond simply altering their appearance. Much of the material made this reviewer cringe, and the theoretical sections were very slow going, but this work provides insight into a relatively understudied segment of the population. Recommended for academic libraries.-Debra Moore, Cerritos Coll., Norwalk, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.