Books/Articles on tattoos in Mexican culture
November 18, 2017 1:50 PM   Subscribe

[ResearchFilter] I am trying to find information about tattoos in Mexican culture for a class project, and am coming up blank. I'm looking for recommendations on both the info itself, and tips on how I can find resources better on my own.

My project is for a culture class, and I need information on how tattoos are viewed in Mexican culture. I know that religion plays into it, sometimes gang culture comes up. But as far as a broad understanding of how tattoos are viewed, I haven't been able to find much useful info.

I have pretty decent Google-fu, but I am coming up blank right now. It seems the results I'm looking for are getting drowned out by all of the websites about pictures of tattoos. If anyone has stronger Google-fu or can give me any tips on search queries (I promise, I have tried the most and second most obvious ones, and the articles I have found have been interesting but not exactly helpful.) If there any book recs, that would be great too.

My university uses the Library of Congress call number system, and that's been another headache. Are there any useful resources that would point me to what category(ies) books about tattoos would most likely be in?

The semester has been a nightmare, and I'm more behind on my project than I would like to be, so I'm hoping MeFi can point me in some direction where I won't just spin in circles.
posted by motioncityshakespeare to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I’m a college librarian and I can tell you that we LOVE questions like this. Can you look on your university library’s website for a link to chat or email and submit your question to a librarian there? We will often help people online, so you don’t have to come in, necessarily. Plus, we can give you the locations of specific books and often send you articles from library databases about your topic. You don’t have to know how to navigate library resources or LC on your own; that’s our literal job, is to help you! I’ll also tell you that we are super familiar with helping students who are behind or starting later than they “should” be, and we don’t judge, I promise. Plus we often work weekends so you could get help soon.

In just a quick google search I can see why you’re not getting much good info; you can probably access library databases on your own from home through your college library website, so if you see links for anything like Academic Search Premier or JSTOR there, those might be good starting places with the same keywords you’re using in Google. You might also try to go wider; just Mexic* and tattoo rather than “Mexican tattoo meaning culture”, for example.
posted by stellaluna at 2:13 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Do you speak Spanish? That changes recommendations. I googled "identidades tatuaje" and got a few hits for Spanish-language newspapers major enough to cite as popular-culture sources (like Milenio and Zocalo) and some academic journals in Spanish (this one about gang tattoos). I suppose you could google translate them. There's also a book called Narrativa : identidades y memorias by María Inés Palleiro, which as far as I can tell from its catalog description is a collection of oral histories that has a chapter about tattoos ("archivo de una historia inscripta en el cuerpo"), but it might be hard to get ahold of. There's a few pages on Google books if you want to check it out - its LC # is GR 72 N37 2005.

But I second talking to your friendly neighborhood librarian.
posted by theweasel at 2:26 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

One more, if you're looking into the historical aspects:Concurso de tatuaje prehispánico : in tlilli in tlapalli : memoria gráfica by Jorge Jiminez Rentaria - LC # GN 419.3 J56 2015 is about tattoo traditions in native Mexican cultures. Again, not particularly helpful if you don't read Spanish, but the call number might lead you closer to something you can use.
posted by theweasel at 2:33 PM on November 18, 2017

I do not speak Spanish, but the suggestions were still a great jumping point for call numbers, so thank you.

Canageek, at first glance your article looks super helpful, thank you!

Tomorrow is another day at the library, so any other suggestions will be great. I'm going to speak to a librarian tomorrow as well, I imagine that's where I should have started.
posted by motioncityshakespeare at 3:43 PM on November 18, 2017

There’s a contemporary Mexican artist called Dr. Lakra whose work involves tattoos. His name might be helpful in searching for where tattoos fit into contemporary Mexican culture.
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 5:43 PM on November 18, 2017

I have pretty decent Google-fu

This is not the skill you need for academic research. Based on your question, it sounds like you have not had a solid introduction to your school’s library resources. I would strongly recommend calling up your reference librarians and figure out when you can get some training (prefereably in person; it will go way faster). If you are relying on Google as a primary tool for academic research, you are wasting a ton of time that you could spend more effectively, and this will trip you up, if not on this assignment. It does not take an extraordinary amount of effort to reach basic competency, but it requires some. Get to the library and get started.

For this particular topic, it’s worth remembering that books tend to to be broad and general within a topic, while articles are usually much more narrow and focused. So when searching your catalog for books, “Mexico and culture” will be more likely to get hits than “Mexico and tattoos.”* Then you need to go to that area and look through the books’ indexes to see if they talk about tattoos specifically. You might also look for books on tattooing to see if Mexican attitudes are mentioned. Material you find there may give you specific terms to use in your article searching. Once you have enough academic-ready material, the web may enhance your project, perhaps by allowing you to cite image galleries and the like.

* you will need to understand how your catalog interprets searches, of course, consult your librarians.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:32 AM on November 19, 2017

« Older Need a Cookbook in Japanese   |   Easiest way to clean floured countertop Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.