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Anthropology and Public HealthBridging Differences in Culture and Society$
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Robert A Hahn and Marcia Inborn

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374643.001.0001

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Honorable Mutilation? Changing Responses to Female Genital Cutting in Sudan

Honorable Mutilation? Changing Responses to Female Genital Cutting in Sudan

(p.397) 14 Honorable Mutilation? Changing Responses to Female Genital Cutting in Sudan
Anthropology and Public Health

Ellen Gruenbaum

Oxford University Press

Female Genital Cutting practices (also known as FGM) are of several types—clitoridectomy, excision, infibulation, and reinfibulation—affecting women and girls in several African countries and other parts of the world. In Sudan, the most damaging of the forms of the practice has been common and has numerous harmful effects. The main reasons it continues are based on complex ideas about religion, morality, family honor, virginity, and marriageability of daughters. Long-term ethnographic research has demonstrated that it has begun to change as midwives and parents are influenced by religious rethinking, health education, and human rights approaches that are increasingly conveyed in creative ways utilizing outreach, the arts, and media. Harm reduction is expected to lead to greater abandonment.

Keywords:   female circumcision, female genital cutting, female genital mutilation, midwife, gender, Africa, Islam, clitoridectomy, infibulation, human rights

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