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Play now 18 mins

Why do we have tattoos?

Duration:
18 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 14 September 2012

Why do we do the things we do?

Mike Williams searches for the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions. So much of what we do is assumed, it seems almost second nature. But where do those ideas, decisions and behaviours actually come from?

The series sets its own agenda and draws upon many but interconnected approaches: psychological, cultural, historical social anthropological, philosophical. It informs us about about the way we live now, about the human condition in the 21st Century.

In this first programme, Mike asks why people have tattoos.

Where do they come from and what do they say about us?

From the Maori of New Zealand to the Mexican Mafia, Mike explores the universal motivation behind why people decorate their bodies with ink.

Broadcast and podcast every Friday from September 2012.

(Image: David Beckham's tattooed bare back. Credit:ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A member of the Texas Syndicate gang

    A member of the Texas Syndicate - A Texas gang
    Image supplied by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
  • A prison made tattoo gun

    A prison made tattoo gun

  • Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller

    Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller
  • Tattoo artist Alex Binnie working on a client, Stefano

    Tattoo artist Alex Binnie working on a client, Stefano

Featured in...

  • Tattoos

    A selection of programmes and clips relating to tattoos and body modification

Free download

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    Why do we do the things we do? Mike Williams searches for the extraordinary and hidden histories…

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