Detattoo: The Contested Embodiment of Piety

Tri Astuti Retno Dewanti


This article examines detattooing (tattoo removal) as an expression of pious identity tied to the objectification of the body, which is inseparable from the hege­monic “pietism” of the socialized body. In the discourse of the revival of piety in contemporary Indonesia, the struggle for body identity in the Hijrah Tattoo Program shows the commotion between personal meanings and the occurrence of a conflict of power. Using in-depth interview methods and internet searching, as well as a psycho­analytic perspective, particularly that of the three registers elaborated by Jacques Lacan, this study juxtaposes and compares the strength of political, corporate, re­ligious, and family power relations in the practice of detattoo and the three stages of detattooization in Indonesia. The results of the analysis show that detattooization in the discourse of social piety is a product of the hegemony of political, corporate, and religious power relations which are managed by the subjects of detattoo as a negotiating strategy to reclaim access to conditions of fulfillment validated by the family hierarchy.


detattoo; embodiment; pious identity; Hijrah Tattoo Program



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Retorik: Jurnal Ilmu Humaniora is published by the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies at Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

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