Projected cultural histories of the cutting of female genitalia: A poor reflection as in a mirror

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Projected cultural histories of the cutting of female genitalia: A poor reflection as in a mirror

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Projected cultural histories of the cutting of female genitalia: A poor reflection as in a mirror
Author(s) Johnsdotter, Sara
Date 2012
English abstract
Current public debate on “female genital mutilation” often renders the impression that it is possible to draw an unambiguous line between acceptable and condemnable practices of female genital cutting. In this paper, the cultural histories of cutting of the female genitalia are presented and discussed. Available historical accounts of female circumcision practices in Africa reflect Western, mainly European, ideas and ideologies at certain points in time. In a sense, these descriptions have more to say about “us” than “them”. Further, the historical descriptions of female circumcision in Africa are intertwined with time-bound notions and cutting practices in Western countries in different epochs. Through retrospective reflections, it is possible to see how current commonsensical standpoints, among them the hegemony of a “zero tolerance” attitude regarding cutting of the female genitalia among Africans, are a product of a recently introduced perspective, and also how this generally accepted perspective may render it more difficult to present multi-faceted ethnographic accounts of lived experiences today.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02757206.2012.649270 (link to publisher's fulltext)
Publisher Routledge
Host/Issue History and Anthropology;1
Volume 23
ISSN 0275-7206
Pages 91-114
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) female circumcision
female genital cutting
female genital mutilation
Africa
Europe
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/13464 (link to this page)

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