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Tattooing identity : an analysis of historical and contemporary tattooing practices among members of the military community

by Frecentese, Victoria M.


Tattooing as a cultural practice has existed definitively in the archaeological record since the Bronze Age and continues in a diverse array of contemporary cultures. Throughout its extensive history, tattooing has often been closely tied to the military community, as either a mark of prestige or punishment, or through the military’s ability to transfer the practice between cultures. This study investigates tattooing among the contemporary military community in terms of image, location, motivation, and meaning in order to better understand influences of tattooing on identity formation. Quantitative and qualitative data collected through interviews in several tattoo parlors in the Colorado Springs area revealed that 71% of the tattoos observed had no military association in imagery or motivation, compared to 12% with direct military association. The results, when coupled with military tattoo history, indicated a higher level of personal identity assertion than anticipated. This study investigates this phenomenon further and formulates a new hypothesis on tattooing among the military community: the trend of individuality.


Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright restrictions apply.
Colorado College
Digital Origin
born digital
73 pages : illustrations (some color)
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Fish, Krista
Degree Name
Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued