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Authors: Kenji Li Fucai
Keywords: tattoos, agency, emotions, body, (work)spaces, resistance
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Kenji Li Fucai (2015). SINGAPORE INK: TATTOOS IN THE WORKSPACE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Tattoo research primarily focuses on the relationship between tattoos and the self. I extend this relationship to include (body)space and consider how one’s feelings towards their body, and to spaces, affect their tattoos’ visibility and experience of having tattoos. As Singapore becomes more liberal where events supporting marginalized communities are organized, restrictions still exist towards what one can say or do. Getting tattoos in a seemingly repressive Singapore presents an opportunity to examine the politics of space, and the body as a political space. Through 16 semi--?structured interviews with people from various occupations to capture the heterogeneity of the tattooed experience in workspaces, this thesis aims to show the lived experience of having tattoos in Singapore. I argue that the body is a space in itself, as well as an entity that is operating (with)in space. This thesis conceptualizes the body as space, the body in space, and emotions linking the politics of body and space in showing the agency that one has over their tattooed bodies. Body as space shows how tattoos can create mental third spaces through the body for the expression of beliefs and identity, and also examines the political considerations to where tattoos are on the body. Body in space investigates the politics surrounding tattooed individuals as they move through different spaces. This research then expands Lefebvre’s (1991) notion of lived space to posit that projects of resistance are not only carried out by people in space, but also on bodies in space. Katz’s (2004) classification of resistance is used to show how using the body as a site of resistance is an emotionally fraught process. In conclusion, I show how the types of resistance employed by tattooed individuals are ultimately dependent on how they feel towards their tattooed bodies and the spaces they are in.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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