A ‘Wellbeing’ Paradigm: A Concept-Based Study of Body Art and Regulatory Challenges

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In this paper I trace the changing characterisation of health and consider the evolution of health within a shifting paradigmatic landscape. I argue that understanding health now encompasses the importance of wellbeing as a key determinant of longer-term good health. I use the case study of body modification and body art to explore this further. I argue that while body modification and body art, as a means of self-expression and empowerment, is relatively easy to access, there are critical gaps in the regulatory framework that may undermine the notion of wellbeing and individual choice. I critique the Court of Appeal’s decision in R v BM, which raises particular public interest concerns, but conclude that it is a missed opportunity in relation to how the law understands the promotion of ‘self’ within a model of wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


  • Body Art; Health; Healthism; Regulation; Wellbeing


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