ABSTRACT

In this research, we conducted an empirical study using the theory of sociologist Jean Baudrillard to examine the phenomenon of contemporary people in Korea acquiring tattoos. The researcher classified the consumption behavior of modern society, as described by Baudrillard in The Consumer Society, into three keyword phrases: consumption by personal taste, coded consumption, and recyclage of consumption. Using this as the premise of the study, 18 men and women in their 20s and 30s completed questionnaires and interviews, and the results supported labeling tattoo consumption as consumption by personal taste, tattoos as coded consumption, and recyclage of tattoo consumption, similar to the consumption pattern that Baudrillard sees. First, the younger generations have consumed tattoos according to their personal preferences. They express themselves by tattooing for self-complacency, self-marking, pursuing individuality, overcoming the appearance complex, and seeking pleasure. Second, they have consumed socially coded tattoos. They say that tattoos domestically act as negative codes and symbolize individuals. Although tattoos are a symbol of artists who are relatively free from social norms, they are still a symbol of social misfits created as such by negative perceptions. Third, the pattern of tattoo consumption is like that of contemporary consumption. Tattoos already have become part of popular culture in Korea, and there has been a changing trend in tattoo culture. This study has significance in that tattoos were regarded as a consumption behavior that deviated, from the perspective of deviance. That phenomenon of today’s tattoo culture of today was confirmed through the empirical study.

KEYWORD

tattoo culture, Jean Baudrillard, taste, code, recyclage

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