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Sunday, December 30, 2012

An exploratory Study on Body Art- People With It and Perceptions Towards It

Dear Readers,
I am a final year MSc Psychology (Counseling) student at Christ University.
My dissertation is about studying personality differences in people with and without body art- tattoos in specific.
While that may be the topic of my primary research, I would also be interested in doing a qualitative analysis of certain related topics. Hence, I am taking a shot and posting a few questions on this forum. Please feel free to answer them as you like and pass it on to friends or people you think might be interested.
Your replies will go a long way in making this research possible.

Thank You,
Vani S

P.S. Please mail all responses to Your responses will be kept private and confidential and used only for the purpose of this research.

Body Art-
Definition as per this study- People with a tattoo(s) and a maximum of one ear lobe piercing on each ear to allow for a cultural sanction.

Answer the following if you have a tattoo. You may also answer this on behalf of someone you know who has a tattoo (mention the same). Please feel free to express as much as you want for any of the questions and back them with personal experience, anecdotes or academic studies. Thank You.

Demographic Data-
Socio Economic Status-
Email Id-
Telephone Number-

1. What is your perception about the personality of a person that decides to ink themslves? (Eg: They might be reckless/ extroverted)

2. Why do you think people decide to get tattooed/ Why did you decide to get tattooed?

3. What are some of the factors that helped you go ahead with the decision of getting inked even though it is a permanent mark on your body?

4. Do you think people who get tattooes are significantly different (personality traits and behavior wise) from people without tattoos?

5. Have you ever suffered discrimination or stigma from your workplace/ elsewhere because you have a tattoo?

6. Do you think the Indian cultural and value system has a significant impact on getting a tattoo? (Eg: increased resistance from family)

7. Do you have a tattoo (s)? If yes, can you list the details? (Where, Colour, Size, Number of tattoos etc)

8. Do you think people often regret getting inked years later? If yes, what may some of the reasons be for the same?

9. What are some of the questions you are commonly asked by people post getting the tattoo and how do you respond to the same?

10. Would you get more tattoos inspite of the number of practical challenges, restrictions, the cost, the discouragement from family and other similar factors? If yes, why? If No, why?

Other remarks-

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Literary Criticism, Critical Theory & Criticism around Creative Writing

I've studied criticism in many forms. During my under-graduation at Christ College, I studied the different schools of literary criticism—new criticism, formalism, structuralism, etc. It was extremely interesting—like observing a thought manifest into words, and then into a complete theory. Even though what these theories enabled was to be able to critique literature and understand it from different perspectives, what soon became clear was that the theories could stand on their own, and be understood as independent working systems of thought in progress. Although we were talking about literature, I felt that we could as easily be talking about anything else—about completely different meaning making processin in society. It became, instead of a way to understand and study literature, a way to understand and make sense of society.

The second form of criticism I studied was during my Masters, which was Critical Theory. I was studying Criticism of society here—looking at Lacan, and Derrida, and Barthes. There was a purpose to the criticism; in some cases, as when we were studying Post-colonialism, if it was to study the impact of the West on nations that had been colonised, understand our own (Indian) relationship to Colonialism, and our efforts to unconsciously Decolonize the West; in other cases, it was a theory of understanding and building piece, where we spoke of reconciliation of countries which had been torn apart by racism, apartheid, or genocide. This form of criticism also lent itself to allow one to look at objects and the relationships we share with them, and how this contributes to our understanding of materials. In all these cases, there was a purpose to the criticism. We were moving towards a goal—to achieve something. To gain, for lack of a better word, some kind of closure in argument of pros and cons that led nowhere.

Now that I'm "studying" MFA Creative Writing, the approach to Criticism is entirely different. We are looking at Criticism not to give us answers of what has already been created, but to help us work towards creating more literature. We work around discussions of craft, and plot; character, and setting, and we do this not to achieve a deeper understanding of what already is, but what can be. It is like drawing blueprints from something that exists, and then, using those blueprints to create new buildings, and new models of architecture. There is much more freedom; to make of it, what we will, and to use it how we please. This is, a criticism that begins in theory, but ends in creation. Criticism that begins without the aim of solving a problem, or getting closer to it, but as a catalyst, and enabler to help a practioner of the craft of writing. It is, might I add, my favorite version of criticism.