AbstractSkin marks tattoos and theirs meanings by Karin LeitnerThis thesis deals with the meaning of tattoos in the Western-European context from a cultural anthropological perspective. In this context, an understanding concerning this phenomenons uprising and increasing popularity is aimed for. As a first step, the historical context is introduced and the connection between historic events and the situation today is established. Then, the empirical study, which preceded this thesis paper, provides some major categories which will be investigated by use of qualitative research methods. Tattoos are to be understood as both individual expression of self as well as connected to the society the individual is part of. With respect to this, the creation of identity via tattoos plays a vital role. Identity and environment are interconnected and in constant interaction recognition and appreciation from peers is quintessential with regard to this. Due to the fact that identity creation is viewed as a life-long process, a tattoo then has a continuous effect on personal development. On the whole, there is ambivalence to tattoos since it encompasses various aspects of human experience a sense of belonging versus independence, art versus stigma and conservatism versus innovation.