You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Tattoo Narratives: Insights Into Multispecies Kinship and Griefwork / About

Tattoo Narratives: Insights Into Multispecies Kinship and Griefwork

By Kristine Hill

Category Journal Articles

This paper explores multispecies families and nonhuman kinship through the lens of tattoo narratives, namely those that accompany designs dedicated to a companion animal. Although some tattoos are purely aesthetic, many embody deep personal meanings. Humans use narrative as a tool to endow meaning to experience, and the visual nature of a tattoo invites the telling of a story. Participants in this study were compelled to commemorate a special bond shared with their companion animal in the form of a tattoo. A discourse analysis approach was applied to examine narratives under the framework of “nurture kinship” and the theory of kinship as “mutuality of being,” as well as the role of memorial tattoos in griefwork and the theory of “continuing bonds.” Through embodied story-telling, tattoos can help the be- reaved maintain an absent presence with the deceased. This study supports the conclusion that humans can and do form kinship bonds with other animals and that memorial tattoos serve similar functions, regardless of the species of the deceased loved one.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 33
Issue 6
Pages 709-726
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2020.1824652
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Grief
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. Kinship
  4. Multispecies
  5. Narratives