The Philosophy of Tattoos (Philosophies) by John Miller

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'History, it seems, is seldom written by the tattooed.'

In this impressively broad yet personal account, John Miller - 'a conventionally dressed middle-aged academic with a full bodysuit' - explores tattooing as a unique expression of individual, cultural and national identity.

As the inherent shock factor of tattooing in the west decreases, tattoos are becoming more extensive, public and challenging in response, prompting an upsurge in 'extreme' tattooing. In an age of aesthetic obsession, the tattoo - once the ultimate symbol of deviance - is now as commodifiable as anything else.

Resisting this apparent loss of the 'magic' of tattooing, 
The Philosophy of Tattoos returns to its origins in cultural locations as disparate as Polynesia, the Amazon and the Arctic to interrogate the innate human desire to mark the skin. It asks what the history of tattooing might tell us about that fundamental question: what does it mean to be human?