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Clitoridectomy etc in the light of inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic communication patterns in Africa
Topic Started: Nov 21 2016, 08:13:43 PM (112 Views)
black man
The Right Hand
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There is one interesting essay by Ross et al. 2015, "Frequency-Dependent Social Transmission and the Interethnic Transfer of Female Genital Modification in the African Diaspora and Indigenous Populations of Colombia" (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12110-015-9234-7 ), which might convince you of the complex context of clitoridectomy. In essence, people suddenly having started to spread that particular practice beyond the ethnic boundaries of their own group is by no means the rule. And this fact itself points to the likeliness of very unusual ideas about human sexuality which have been passed on primarily among members of certain African ethnic groups.

Now, I cannot tell much about concrete statements about African people according to ethnographic literature. Someone who is familiar with the texts written by Malinowski etc might comment on that kind of literature and, if necessary, criticise their statements.

In any case, one aspect of that ethnographic literature worth being checked is the question whether people from certain African ethnographic groups are or once were heavily exposed to any kind of superfluous sexual talk. Such superfluous sexual talk could have misled young people into overrating the importance of their individual sexual activity to the extent that people started to perform (male and female) circumcisions.

Most premodern societies seem to have been "prudish" rather than "obscene". And even in present-day commercialised societies obscene talk is limited to very specific surroundings. Therefore, circumcisions etc might have a very specific ethno-historical background restricted to what can be associated with those African ethno-cultural groups in which they were traditionally practiced. By contrast, researchers have repeatedly emphasised that clitoridectomy doesn't make any sense according to the logic of Amerindian ethno-cultural traditions when addressing clitoridectomy in the Chami population.

Eventually, I'd like to emphasise that I'm not interested in people displaying Eurocentric political POVs. Rather, questions like these should discussed:

- in which ethnic groups were clitoridectomy etc traditionally practiced?
- which social groups within these ethnic groups performed and supported them?
- what makes these ethnic and social groups themselves and their respective communication patterns different from ethnic and social groups which do not support clitoridectomy etc?
- in which sense and to what extent could obscene talk have contributed to the spread of clitoridectomy etc?
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