Henri Beunders

Henri Beunders (b. 1953) describes himself as ‘an historian of mentalities, dealing with the silent changes and open conflicts’. He studied history at the University of Amsterdam and worked for Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad before becoming a lecturer at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. His current post is as Professor of Developments in Public Opinion. He has written many books including From Exaltation to Exorcism: Reflections on Dutch arts, (Multi) Culture, Memory and Public Taboos, The Imagination of the World and The World as Imagination, and How Much Right Does Emotion Have?

The Advance of the Tattoo

The Advance of the Tattoo

In Pursuit of A Meaningful Existence

(De Geus, 2020, 288 pages)

Once considered a sign of primitivism, tattoos, sported by icons such as Janis Joplin, Ozzy Osborne and Memphis Depay, have undergone a radical change of image over the past century. Formerly the trademark of the prisoner, sailor or rebel, they are now popular across all walks of life. Beunders traces the cultural developments that led to the cult of body ink, arguing that this cult is synonymous with a society in which everyone becomes (briefly) famous and everything is art, even one’s own body.

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