Emerged options for female circumcision (FGM) among Kenyan Samburu pastoralists
Kyoko Nakamura (Kyoto University)
Paper short abstract:
In this paper I examine the process of changing attitudes and practices surrounding FC/FGM among the Kenyan Samburu pastoralists by showing cases and discourses over the newly created cutting styles.
Paper long abstract:
In this paper I examine the process of changing attitudes and practices surrounding FC/FGM among the people who had strongly maintained this custom. Kenyan Samburu is one of the ethnic groups who are strongly maintaining FC/FGM practice. They relate it to female maturity and fertility, and without circumcision women are not mature enough to give a birth, and women are usually circumcised on the day or before the day of marriage. If a child conceived by uncircumcised girl, it is called ngosenet, and people are afraid of it as an ominous existence which would destroy all the people of the family. This conventional belief is deeply held by every generation of both male and female. Therefore so many efforts made by international and national FGM abandonment projects have long seemed ineffective. Recently, however, things have begun to change slowly according to the social changes. New cutting styles which are less mutilating than traditional style are created, and circumcisers are playing important role to indicate the styles to the people. Not only for the girl who take the options but for the parents and husbands it is very new situation, and the options signifies people's position toward their tradition and sometimes utilizes political context. I, thus, examine changing values regarding FC/FGM and their new role in the society.