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Tattoos: from subculture to pop culture

The history and relevance of tattoos in popular culture is marked by artistic change and changes in popular perception. Until recently, tattoos were long considered subversive and outside of mainstream culture. But today, they are now almost commonplace. Join us as we discuss the art, history and relevance of tattoos in modern popular culture. 

Speaker profile(s)

Lee Barron is based in the School of Design at Northumbria University where he teaches in the areas of fashion branding, marketing, and luxury brand management. His research interests cover subjects such as fashion, popular music, celebrity, tattooing, and culture-inspired design. 

He has published in numerous journals such as The Journal of Popular CulturePostcolonial StudiesFashion TheoryCelebrity StudiesPopular Music HistoryEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies, the Journal of Modern CraftGothic Studies, and Fashion, Style and Popular Culture.

Lee has also contributed chapters to a number of edited book collections that include Popular Music and Film (2003), Terror Tracks (2009), The Tube Has Spoken: Reality TV and History (2010), and Heavy Metal: Controversies and Countercultures (2013). He is also the author of the book: Social Theory in Popular Culture (2013), Celebrity Cultures (2015), Tattoo Culture: Theory and Contemporary Contexts (2017) and Tattoos and Popular Culture (2020).  

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In this episode:

  • How has the perception of tattoos changed over time?
  • What is their place in popular culture today?
  • What does reality TV reveal about the relevance of tattoos?
  • What do tattoos tell us about celebrity culture?
     

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