Why do we have tattoos?

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)

Available now

18 minutes

Last on

Mon 17 Sep 2012 10:32 GMT

A member of the Texas Syndicate gang

A member of the Texas Syndicate 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

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