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When one considers a subculture – either gang members or those enclosed within a prison’s walls – tattoos tend to be a defining factor by visually communicating a gang membership, a status, a rank, an accomplishment (skewed as that notion may be with regard say to a criminal), etc.

by | Nov 13, 2022 | Art (Fine arts, Performing arts) | 0 comments

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Reading: Demello, Margo. “The Convict Body: Tattooing Among Male American Prisoners”
Films:
Sons of Anarchy, Season 1, Episode 5 “Giving Back” http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Anarchy-Season-Charlie-Hunnam/dp/B0024FAR5M/ref=sr_1_8?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1420732938&sr=1-8&keywords=sons+of+anarchy
The Mark of Cain – Russian Prison Tattoo Documentary (watch episodes 1-3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekqt27CwJqk&list=PLRRJZqmx4tCbI6oF18aLmksyWlV9nRqfI&index=2
“Body art is also a way for people to challenge social values and cultural assumptions about beauty, identity, and the body itself.” – American Museum of Natural History
When one considers a subculture – either gang members or those enclosed within a prison’s walls – tattoos tend to be a defining factor by visually communicating a gang membership, a status, a rank, an accomplishment (skewed as that notion may be with regard say to a criminal), etc. Tattooing both reinforces and challenges existing social divisions. For prisoners and gang members, permanent body marking evinces both a personal experience and a social history. Even though the images evoke empowerment, livelihood, and individuality, they also represent oppression as well as an exclusion from the larger social world. There is a set and inescapable outside judgment which rests on those inked articulations. Yet the irony that confronts many (not all) who are tattooed is that their strategy for survival in one realm (prison/gang), all but guarantees their failure in another. The aforementioned are the issues that you will need to discuss based on your reading of Demello’s discourse and after viewing the two films. Your response needs to be 6-8 pages in length.

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