Geek Ink: Geek Tattoos and Consumer Culture

Archaeology and Material Culture

To be geek is no longer an especially unique or stigmatizing proclamation.  The term geek is often somewhat sloppily used to refer to a broad range of people with some fervent attraction to something; while it is not necessary to establish an inflexible definition for geek, it seems to distinguish social groups sharing a fervent collective commitment to fan practices and discourses:  those might revolve around comics, science fiction, gaming, or nearly any other dimension of popular culture that fashions social interactions and consumption.

In the context of consumer culture being geek risks losing its distinction as marketers package geek symbols for the masses, so geeks aspire to race ahead of the “mainstream,” seeking out the creative, arcane, and specialized and preserving geek distinction before it falls victim to mass marketing.  The challenge contemporary subcultures face is to maintain social practices and material style in opposition to a homogenizing…

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