Consuming memorial tattoos: The body as marketplace object?

Chloe Steadman, Dominic Medway, Emma Banister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The body is central to contemporary consumer culture. However, whilst material objects such as family heirlooms can be used by the living to create a sense of immortality for the deceased, little is known about why persons might turn to their own impermanent bodies to create a symbolic legacy for lost loved ones. Drawing on multiple in-depth interviews with eight memorial tattoo consumers, photographs, and a tattoo consumption diary, this paper teases out three unique qualities of the tattooed body in the lives of those left behind: body as intimate, body as entwined, and body as controllable. In foregrounding what makes the body so special, our study holds implications for better understanding the intersecting role of both bodies and marketplace objects in consumers’ memorialisation practices, whilst also addressing the underexplored practice of memorial tattoo consumption.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConsumption Markets and Culture
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2023


  • death
  • marketable object
  • memorialisation
  • memorial tattoos
  • symbolic legacy
  • the body


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