Popular explanatory models of FGC affecting real people’s lives: The case of Ali Elmi Hayow in Sweden

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Popular explanatory models of FGC affecting real people’s lives: The case of Ali Elmi Hayow in Sweden

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Popular explanatory models of FGC affecting real people’s lives: The case of Ali Elmi Hayow in Sweden
Author(s) Johnsdotter, Sara
Date 2007
English abstract
In 2006-2007 (from District Court to the Supreme Court), the Swedish citizen Ali Elmi Hayow was sentenced to prison for female genital mutilation of his daughter. In this paper I argue that the popular understanding of FGC, seeing African men as the true actors and stakeholders in the upholding of FGC, rendered it impossible for this man to get a fair trial. The facts presented during court proceedings were interpreted within a radical feminist framework, and the political will to sentence a male for FGM made it possible to overlook this citizen’s legal rights. The case is presented and discussed in relation to the social context of this specific case. Further it is discussed in relation to the wider social and political context of FGC in Sweden. I try to show that this case cannot be fully understood without knowledge of some cultural traits among Somalis and that the court members, rather than aiming for a well-grounded understanding of the case, leaned toward popular and stereotyped notions of FGC as well as of Somali men and women. Ethnocentric ideas of family organisation were also important for the outcome of the court proceedings. With less twisted and more realistic preconceptions of the Somali practice of FGC and gender relations, I argue, Ali Elmi Hayow would have walked free.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) FGC
female circumcision
legal system
radical feminism
FGM
ethnocentrism
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note The 4th FOKO Conference in Helsinki, 7-8 September 2007.
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/9258 (link to this page)

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