MA (Master of Arts)
Communication and Storytelling Studies
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Kelly Dorgan, Delanna Reed
This study explores processes of identity construction among women who have skin conditions and body modifications. Analyzing seven semi-structured qualitative interviews, the author examines how individuals affected by skin conditions employ body modification practices to organize their identities and promote feelings of agency across both personal and social domains. Engaging a Bakhtinian dialogic lens, the author argues that body modification may operate as a de-stigmatization strategy that supports individuals with skin conditions in cultivating a sense of self-determination and bodily sovereignty. Shaped by grounded theory, this study’s findings trace relationships between body modification and the development of agentic identities among women with skin conditions. Confronted by medical, physical, and social disenfranchisement, women affected by skin conditions may implement body modification practices to navigate treatment, incorporate their conditions, and negotiate their relationships. The author additionally suggests implications for the application of body modification practices as somatic therapeutic modalities.
Thesis - embargo
Walonski, Christopher, "Skin Deep: Body Modification and Agentic Identities Among Women with Skin Conditions" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3906. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/3906
Copyright by the authors.
Available for download on Saturday, April 05, 2025