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Aesthetic labour outcome and experience of individuals with tribal marks in Nigeria

Adisa, Toyin Ajibade, Nickson, Dennis, Ogbonnaya, Chidiebere, Mordi, Chima (2023) Aesthetic labour outcome and experience of individuals with tribal marks in Nigeria. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 35 (3). pp. 1-29. ISSN 0958-5192. E-ISSN 1466-4399. (doi:10.1080/09585192.2023.2243209) (KAR id:102242)


Research on body art as a component of aesthetic labour has predominantly focused on individuals with tattoos in the global north, but little is known about tribal marks as a key element of aesthetic labour that leads to discriminatory or prejudicial attitudes in the workplace. Tribal marks are facial inscriptions that symbolize clan, family, and ethnic affiliation, and serve to distinguish one sociocultural group from another. In this article, we examine the lived experiences of people with tribal marks in Nigeria by developing a theoretical framework based on literatures on aesthetic labour, social stigmatisation, and discrimination. Drawing on the accounts of 42 individuals with tribal marks, we demonstrate how aestheticized work environments, biased assumptions, and negative perceptions about individuals with tribal marks can lead to discriminatory or prejudicial behaviours at work. We further discuss the psychosocial consequences and explain why tribal marks are now perceived to be outdated and damaging to those individuals who have them. We offer a novel perspective on the existing knowledge about aesthetic labour and broaden our understanding of another form of ‘lookism’ in a non-Western context.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/09585192.2023.2243209
Uncontrolled keywords: Management of Technology and Innovation, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Strategy and Management, Business and International Management, Industrial relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Chidi Ogbonnaya
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2023 16:02 UTC
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2024 14:26 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Ogbonnaya, Chidiebere:
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