Rethinking female genital cutting: from culturalist to structuralist framework for challenging violence against women

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Since the beginning of the international campaign against it, not only Female Genital Cutting (FGC) but also the way these practices should be challenged has been subject to considerable debate. This chapter contributes to this debate by arguing for the need to move beyond culturalist explanations of FGC as they overlook the sociological complexity of violence against women. This chapter discusses the findings of qualitative research which has interrogated the continuation of FGC in Scotland from a migration perspective. By tracing FGC-affected women’s trajectories of violence through their journeys from the Global South to the Global North, the findings illustrate the shared global failures in recognizing how FGC is rooted in and sanctioned by the systematic, intersectional discrimination of women. In an effort to challenge simplistic representations of migrant women's journeys from the patriarchal South to the emancipatory West, this chapter traces the societal conditions which perpetuate violence and trauma in the lives of displaced women. In doing so, the chapter demonstrates the possibilities that adopting a structural inequality perspective can provide for challenging both FGC-practices and the colonial representations of the anti-FGC discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFemale Genital Cutting
Subtitle of host publicationThe Global North and South
EditorsSara Johnsdotter
Place of PublicationMalmö
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-91-7877-124-0
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020


  • female genital cutting
  • female circumcision
  • female genital mutilation

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