Modern Primitives (book)

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Modern Primitives
AuthorsV. Vale, Andrea Juno
CountryUnited States
SubjectsBody modification, Cultural studies, Social Anthropology
Publication date
Media typePrint
391/.65 20
LC ClassGT2343 .M63 1989

Modern Primitives, written by V. Vale and Andrea Juno, is a RE/Search publications book about body modification, published in 1989. The book consists of a collection of twenty two interviews and two essays with individuals and key figures involved the field of body modification in the late 1980s. It was one of the first documents to attempt to comprehensively cover the re-emergence and increasing popularity of tattooing, piercing, scarification, corsetry, sideshow, ritual and other practices in contemporary western society.


At the time of its publication, Modern Primitives was the first text to attempt to comprehensively address the issues, aesthetics and meaning involved in the subject of body modification. The public knowledge of the term Modern Primitive is primarily due to the widespread popularity of this book.[1] Many of the images in the book would have been familiar to persons involved in the movement, but the book exposed several "underground" practices to a vastly greater public, including graphic images of genital piercing and genital bisection and scarification. The book also advanced numerous urban legends regarding the history and origin of body piercing, which remain widespread to this day, most notably Doug Malloy (Richard Simonton)'s invented origins of various piercings.[2][3]

Notable interviewees and essayists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wojcik, Daniel (1995). Punk and Neo-Tribal Body Art. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 35. ISBN 0-87805-735-8.
  2. ^ Malloy, Doug. "Body & Genital Piercing in Brief". BME. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  3. ^ Ward, Jim (2004). "Who Was Doug Malloy?". Running the Gauntlet. BME. Archived from the original on February 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-01.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)