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Aryan, A. (2006). Body Modification. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87(3):849-851.

(2006). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87(3):849-851

Body Modification

Reported by:
Asbed Aryan

Silvia Reisfeld presented a study into the meaning of tattoos, piercing, scarification and other acts of aggression in adolescents against their own skin. She examined both individual and cultural dimensions and the interrelationship between these two factors.

Hilda C. Catz's paper focused on body modifications and scars specifically related to the special features of parental inscriptions in our culture which resulted from inscriptions across different generations.

Lastly, Javier García presented a paper which emphasized the body as the object of these modifications, adornments and rituals. He drew attention to the fact that we were dealing with both an historic dimension influenced by ideologies from different periods of history, and also with an erogenous dimension seen in different forms of writing, which bring together different aspects of erogeneity and culture. He went on to detail the increasing popularity of tattooing and piercing, and, what is more alarming, body modification by means of branding with heat and scarification, or scars formed by cutting into the skin, a phenomenon which is gaining ground, in particular with adolescents and other urban groups.

Reisfeld's claim that tattooing has an elaborate intentionality was discussed. Some of the participants agreed that tattoo drawing is like a text to be deciphered and represents aspects of the ego and of the object, especially as an element that shows the mourning for a lost object. (Various clinical vignettes referred to the death of the father.

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