The great ephemeral tattooed skin

MacCormack, Patricia (2006) The great ephemeral tattooed skin. Body and Society, 12 (2). pp. 57-82. ISSN 1460-3632

Accepted Version
Available under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (90kB) | Preview
Official URL:


The skin is always and already a series of planes which signify race, gender, age and such. Tattooing creates a new surface of potential significance upon the body. Tattooing can call into question concepts of volition in reference to the power to inscribe and define one’s subjectivity through one’s own skin, and the social defining of the subject. Skin is the involution or event between subject and object, will and cultural inscription, the social and the self. Feminism, particularly corporeal feminists, have attempted to think ways in which the female flesh may be recognized and self-defined without risking essentialism through reification of the meaning of ‘woman’s body’. Thinking the tattooed female body thus resonates with some of the risks and benefits feminism has found in theorizing a marginalized body. Using Deleuze, Guattari, Lyotard and other major influences on corporeal feminists this article explores ways in which significance is sought in skin and possible configurations of skin and world which challenge the desire to read the flesh as a legible incarnation of subjectivity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Deleuze and Guattari, feminism, Lyotard, materiality, tattoo
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2010 13:59
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2022 12:27

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item