Transformative Nature of Tattoos: Exploring the Role Memorial Tattoos Play in Bereavement.

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Tattoos have grown in popularity in the West at a rapid rate in the last 20 years or so (DeMello, 1995, 2000). With this, the prevalence of memorial tattoos in our society has increased as tattooed people lose the stigma attached them. Much of the prior research on tattoos is focused on deviancy and criminality, ignoring the experience of the tattoo itself. The purpose of this study is to bring a focus to the experience of tattoo and question the transformative effect tattoos have – to explore the role memorial tattoos play in bereavement. Interviews of 5 participants were analysed through interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) concluding that tattoos are a valid mourning ritual and could be interpreted as a technique to facilitate an altered state of consciousness and mindfulness.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorAlasdair Gordon-Finlayson (Supervisor)

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