Circumcising circumcision: Renegotiating beliefs and practices among Somali women in Johannesburg and Nairobi

Lucy Lowe, Zaheera Jinnah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Female circumcision among Somalis is a deeply personal and subjective practice, framed within traditional norms and cultural practices, but negotiated within contemporary realities to produce a set of processes and practices that are nuanced, differentiated, and undergoing change. Based on ethnographic research among Somali women in Johannesburg and Nairobi, we argue that the context of forced migration provides women with opportunities to renegotiate and reinvent what female circumcision means to them. The complex, subjective, and diverse perceptions and experiences of circumcision as embedded processes, within the context of migration, we argue has been overlooked in the literature, which has tended to be framed within a normative discourse concerned with the medical effects of the practice, or in anthropological studies, counter to the normative discourse based on personal narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-388
JournalMedical Anthropology
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • female circumcision
  • female genital modification/mutilation
  • Johannesburg
  • Nairobi
  • Somali women

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