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.
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