How tattooists navigate their world

The Sociology and Anthropology Research Series will kick off with an exploration of how tattooists learn to do their jobs, advance their careers, and the social order in the creation of tattoos.

Bring a lunch and join the discussion from noon-1:15 p.m. Friday, August 27, in Schroeder Hall, room 108, for a presentation by scholar Dr. David Lane. The event is free and open to the campus community.

“Tattooists have to navigate the world of work. It is a world that is not governed by the rules of formal institutions and rationality. Rather, tattooists rely on experience and honor, and a code that emphasizes tradition.”

Dr. David Lane 

In this session, Lane will discuss the complex social world that is tattooing. His discussion will focus on the pathways into working this occupation, the cultural hierarchy among its members, and the mechanisms that affect how tattooists establish their reputations.

Underlying these descriptions is an emphasis on the collective social processes needed to make art worlds operate. Ultimately, and as Lane argues, tattooists have created and sustained an art world that relies on an anachronistic model of organizing labor in capitalism. 

Lane holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Delaware and teaches as an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State. His research focuses are tattooing, the relationship between disasters and crime, and understanding contemporary social problems.