Series 14 Vol 2 No 2 (2019)

Globalizzazione e aspetti culturali: l’esempio del tatuaggio

Paolo Macchia
Dipartimento di Civiltà e forme del sapere, Università di Pisa, Italia

Published 2020-06-24


  • Cultural Geography,
  • Globalization,
  • Tattoo

How to Cite

Macchia, P. (2020). Globalizzazione e aspetti culturali: l’esempio del tatuaggio. Bollettino Della Società Geografica Italiana, 2(2), 87-98.


The ancient practice of skin drawing and tattooing is among the oldest and most recurrent cultural phenomena in the history of peoples and human societies around the world. Since prehistoric times cultures and civilizations have used it as a means of communication to convey personal information such as social position and relations, devotion, sense of belonging and rebellion. Consequently, tattooing has undergone progressive “resemantization” to meet the cultural needs of human groups.

Then tattooing met the Western world, which adopted it and reshaped its function by adapting it to its own cultural values. Tattoos were thus given a marked ‘western’ character and transformed into contemporary body art. Eventually, tattooing spread all over the Planet like many other Western cultural patterns, showing the same dynamics as even stronger globalizing processes.
The present contribution aims at studying how the ancient practice of skin drawing and tattooing has now become a significative expression of occidentalization and a clear example of an increasingly globalized cultural mosaic.