Brian Brown and Virginia Kuulei Berndt, "Body Art" (Emerald Publishing, 2023)


Body art, especially tattoos and piercings, has enjoyed an explosion of interest in recent years. However, the response of many health professionals and researchers to this phenomenon is often negative, as body art continues to be associated with issues ranging from ill mental health to offending behaviors.

Arguing for a reappraisal of the diverse range of practices that fall under this heading, Brian Brown and Virginia (Ginger) Kuulei Berndt reconsider body art as an underappreciated yet accessible source for mental and physical wellbeing. How, they ask, does body art open up new sources of community, sociality, and aesthetics? How is it used for the reclamation of one’s body, as a marker of success or accomplishment, or for building friendships? How does participation in these practices impact the health and wellbeing of body artists themselves?

Providing a radical rethink that integrates tattoos and other body modifications within health, wellbeing, and positive psychology, Body Art (Emerald Publishing, 2023) disrupts the narrative of stigmatisation that so often surrounds these practices to welcome a broader discussion of the benefits they can offer.

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of The Social Construction of a Cultural Spectacle: Floatzilla (Lexington Books, 2023) and Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington Books, 2022). His general area of study is about the construction of identity and place. He is currently conducting research for his next project that looks at nightlife and the emotional labor that is performed by bouncers at bars and nightclubs. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at

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Michael Johnston

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University.

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