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Title:Female genital cutting: cultural rights and rites of defiance in northern Tanzania
Authors:Winterbottom, Anna
Koomen, Jonneke
Burford, GemmaISNI
Periodical:African Studies Review (ISSN 1555-2462)
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:female circumcision
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_studies_review/v052/52.1.winterbottom.pdf
Abstract:This article reviews campaigns against female genital cutting (FGC) directed at Maasai communities in northern Tanzania. The authors argue that campaigns against FGC using educational, health, legal, and human rights-based approaches are at times ineffective and counterproductive when they frame the practice as a 'tradition' rooted in a 'primitive' and unchanging culture. They suggest that laws intended to prevent FGC may at times even serve to perpetuate the practice. Furthermore, human rights-based approaches can often be ineffective when communities feel that their rights to cultural self-determination are infringed. Similarly, approaches that emphasize the medical implications of FGC will succeed only if they address local beliefs about health. The authors argue that development interventions that do not address local contexts of FGC, including the complex politics and history of interventions designed to eradicate it, can in fact reify and reinscribe the practice as central to Maasai cultural identity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]