Modern primitive

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Forms of modern western body modification adopted from "primitive", traditional cultures

Modern primitives or urban primitives are people in developed and culturally altered post-colonial nations who engage in body modification rituals and practices while making reference or homage to the rite of passage practices in "primitive cultures".[1] These practices may include body piercing, tattooing, play piercing, flesh hook suspension, corset training, scarification, branding, and cutting. The motivation for engaging in these varied practices may be personal growth, rite of passage, or spiritual or sexual curiosity.

Roland Loomis, also known as Fakir Musafar, is considered the father of the modern primitive movement.[2] The 1989 RE/Search book Modern Primitives is largely responsible[clarification needed] for the promotion of the concept of modern primitivism. Among the modern primitive motivations, the main purpose of any rite of passage is to transform the initiate’s state of being, from one state of existence to another. Modern primitive's identify with a connection between the primitive and authenticity; “in opposition to the corruptions of mainstream society”[3].

Modern primitives have a loosely set of beliefs about their way of life;

  • Primitive modification of the body in order to sculpt their self-image.
  • Modern primitive's engage in activities which reject society at large. Exploring the self is a personal statement, which society rejects.
  • Resisting colonialism, it may be an callback to an anticolonial struggle.[4]
  • Bodily modification is a metaphysical and spiritually rich act.
  • Modern primitive practices reinforce a rejection of a cultural norm in such a way as it appears understandable as in opposition to the mainstream.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Geographic - Ancient and Modern Tattoos Celebrated in Photography Book
  2. ^ Gauntlet – decorating the Modern Primitive Archived 2007-05-20 at
  3. ^ Benson, Susan (2000). "Inscriptions of the self: reflections on tattooing and piercing in contemporary Euro-America". In Jane, Caplan (ed.). Written on the body: the tattoo in European and American history (Jane Caplan ed.). London: United Kingdom: Reaktion Books Ltd. pp. 234–254. ISBN 978-0691057231.
  4. ^ Rosenblatt, David (1997). "The Antisocial Skin: Structure, Resistance, and 'Modern Primitive' Adornment in the United States". Cultural Anthropology. 12 (3): 287–334. doi:10.4135/9781526440211. ISBN 9781526440211. Retrieved 16 June 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]