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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the growing interest in and practices of body modification—both common and extreme—since the rise of “modern primitivism” in the 1980s. Viewed variously as a reclamation of identity and a rejection of Western social biases, invariably modification practices foreground the body as a site of resistance, self-determination, freedom, and experimentation, encompassing a wide range of subcultures. Through a reading of cultural, theoretical and science fiction texts including cyberpunk and cyborg narratives, Farnell interrogates problematic issues surrounding the positioning of the body as a site able to be “remade,” and the increasing popularity and commercialization of modification practices that force the once marginalized to reconsider their “authenticity.” The chapter further proposes that a fertile site of reappraisal for contemporary body-modification practice and theory is the contested zone, where the narratives of SF, the subcultures of body modification, and the spectacles of performance art collide.

Keywords: body modification, subcultures, modern primitivism, science fiction, performance art, cyborg, cyberpunk

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