Politics of Female Genital Cutting (FGC), Human Rights and the Sierra Leone State
Politics of Female Genital Cutting (FGC), Human Rights and the Sierra Leone State: The Case of Bondo Secret Society provides a comprehensive analysis of contemporary post-war Sierra Leone politics through ethnographic examination of key cultural institutions like the Bondo society, the law, media and state actors. The book discusses historical, medical and socio-cultural underpinnings of the Female Genital Cutting (FGC) practice among members of the Bondo society in Sierra Leone by pointing out inherent and apparent tensions of a secret society dedicated to the continuation of long established gender practices at the counter-point of concerted international condemnation against the practice. Drawing on ethnography, the study highlights the complexity of FGC as practiced in Sierra Leone owing to the fact that it is interlaced in multifarious ways to politics, cosmology, community idioms of inclusion, medical metaphors and the sociological vernacular of people that practice it.In the Bondo society, some women have access to considerable forms of powers which endear them to political actors in Sierra Leone. On account of this and in a context of donor aid conditionality tied to efforts at ending FGC, a stage is therefore set where the local political elite ambivalently attend to competing interests from FGC adherents and eradication proponents in the high stakes politics of legitimatizing power.The book's subtle and nuanced view of power handy to members of the Bondo society, however, does not lead to a vindication of FGC but is an attempt to go beyond blunt condemnation of the practice in order to explore the cultural and socio-political underpinnings that animate the practice.
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