In(k)scribed Identities: A Sociological Analysis of Catholic Croat Tattoos

Timea Barabas

Abstract


For centuries, a number of Catholic Croat women from the territory of modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina have participated in a traditional form of tattooing. Rooted in the socio-political context marked by the rule of the Ottoman Empire (16th–19th century), it was believed that the symbols would offer protection against kidnapping by the Turks. While the practice carried on, outliving the context of its creation, it entered into a slow decline; today not more than a handful of people still bear these markings. Using interviews collected by Ilinčić (2016) as secondary data, I apply Foucauldian discourse analysis to follow the construction of meaning associated to tattoos along the interpersonal-intergroup continuum. Drawing upon structuralism and feminist theories about the body and social identity theory, I focus on how tattooing is used as a communicative signifier of social and or self-identity.

 

Article received: December 10, 2018; Article accepted: January 23, 2019; Published online: April 15, 2019; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Barabas, Timea. "In(k)scribed Identities: A Sociological Analysis of Catholic Croat Tattoos." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 18 (2019): 33–50. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i18.297


Keywords


tattooing; identity; social identity theory; structuralism; discourse analysis

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i18.297

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