Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology

First Advisor

Esteban Gómez

Second Advisor

Alejandro Cerón

Third Advisor

Lynn Clark


Community, Identity, Social media, Tattoos


This thesis aims to address two inquiries regarding contemporary tattooing. The first goal is to explore how social media has changed the practice of tattooing while the second goal is to examine how tattoos are used to express or explore the differing facets of a person’s identity. Identity theory, social identity theory, semiotics, and the concepts of stigma and deviancy form the theoretical framework which allows one to understand the ways in which tattoos can provide insights into the various aspects of someone’s identity as well as how social media can influence members of the tattoo community. An online survey, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation were utilized to investigate the research questions. When analyzing the collected data, it became clear that social media is an influential force and valuable tool for members of the tattoo community to use when they are making decisions about their next tattoo and when they seek to engage with tattoo culture and each other outside of tattoo shops and conventions. Additionally, the data displayed how even tattoos that were not designed with a specific purpose in mind are still important as they allow for the tattooed person to shape the way in which they perceive themselves and are perceived by others, which can improve their confidence and self-esteem. The information presented within this thesis is significant in that it fills two gaps that were identified within academic research on tattoos while also displaying how advances in technology have impacted those who engage with the tattoo industry, culture, and community.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Delanee Taylor


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


187 pgs

File Size

1.9 MB