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Male and female genital cutting among Southern Thailand’s Muslims: rituals, biomedical practice and local discourses

Cult Health Sex. 2010;12(7):725-738

Male and female genital cutting among Southern Thailand’s Muslims: rituals, biomedical practice and local discourses

Merli C

Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK

This paper explores how local people in a province in southern Thailand perceive the practice of male andfemale genital cutting. In order to understand the importance placed on these practices, a comparison is drawn between the two and also between the male circumcision and the Buddhist ordination of monks as rites of passage. Discourses on the exposure or concealment of male and female bodies, respectively, witness to the relevance of both the local political-historical context and biomedical hegemony to gendered bodies. The comparisons evince the need to reflect upon the theoretical and ethical implications of studyinggenital cutting and focusing exclusively on one of the two practices rather than, as this paper claims to be necessary, considering them as inextricably connected.

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