Re: female circumcision-A
Sun, 27 Nov 94 10:32:57 GMT

In Article <> (Christopher King) writes:
> However, I wonder about the term
>"mutilation" which has emotional overtones. In the same vein, I wonder
>if the cultures in which these practices are carried out attach any
>aesthetic value to the finished product. All this talk about mutilation
>and degradation seems to overlook the questions of how the practice is
>constructed in local terms. Or is it just a barbaric practice of
>degradation and suppression physically forced on resisting girls?
I agree. I think this issue should be the focus of study and
discussion before folks decide to start developing plans for
intervention. Even in the name of public health. I think as you noted
the term mutilation carries with it emotional tones. A question which needs to
be posed is .... is the reason for opposing this practice health related or
simply an emotional reaction to male dominance. If it is the latter, this is
hardly a reason for taking a stand on such a sensitive issue.

>C>As I recall anthropological training should be directed at
>C>teaching skills necessary to conduct research on cullturally sensitive
>C>issues. This means learning and listening from those on the inside of
>C>the culture we wish to study.
> we can enforce our liberal values without seeming to do so. I
>thought this kind of anthropology was something of the past.

I believe that culture change is a given and values of one culture will
inevitably come into conflict with those of another. Especially in our present
global community. The role of anthropology is to mitigate the adverse
effects of rapid culture change. As far as the issue of female circumscisin is
concerned I think we are at the point where increasing preassure will be put on
those nations in which the practice occurs. We have 2 choices... to butt out and
let well meaning beaurcrats and policy makers screw it up with ultimatums,
censures, and economic sanctions formulated from an emotional perspective, or
we can find ways to move those societies to a position where the practice is
not as important for ethinc solidarity as it used to be.

If this is the anthropology of the past...... what is the anthropology of the
present? I guess I've just grown old in the same mold.

* Charles T. Faulkner * When you don't know where you're
* Univ of Tennessee, Knoxville * going any road will take you there.
* ( * Alice