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Gender and Language Practices in Female Circumcision Ceremonies in Kuria, Kenya.

Wambura, Boke Joyce (2018) Gender and Language Practices in Female Circumcision Ceremonies in Kuria, Kenya. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a global issue which has been declared a violation of human and girl child rights. This has been voiced from different perspectives. However, few studies have related FGM to gender, and none of these have given the issue a critical linguistic approach. This study was set to fill this gap by detailing gendered discourses in the Kuria FGM ceremonies and uncovering ways in which FGM is normalised in discourse. This was a linguistic ethnographic study anchored in discourse analytic methods. FGM songs were audio recorded and participants in the ceremonies interviewed. Observation notes were also made. Data were transcribed and translated then analysed using Fairclough’s (1992, 2003, 2015) Critical Discourse Analysis framework and Sunderland’s (2004) Gendered Discourses approaches. Analysis focused on identifying, naming, describing and interpreting gendered discourses by critically analysing lexical items and metaphors. These were the traces/cues of the gendered discourses identified in the songs and interview responses. Particular interest was on those aspects of discourse that seemed normal and commonsensical but which, when analysed from a critical perspective, functioned to advance gender inequalities and position FGM as acceptable and expectable, even good. Findings show that Kuria female circumcision ceremonies are a site of many gendered discourses; male dominance and female subordination are legitimised through such discourses as: ‘man as provider’; ‘man as protector’; ‘woman as domestic’ and ‘woman as object’. These function as building blocks of the three main discourses, ‘proper woman discourse’; ‘economic value discourse’ and ‘power and control discourse’ in the songs and which are largely re-articulated and confirmed in the interviews. The conclusions drawn from the findings are that men are constructed as different from women, while women who have undergone FGM are portrayed to be better than those who have not and this forms the basis for perpetuation of FGM.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Gender, Discourse, FGM, Kuria.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > University of York St. John
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.758302
Depositing User: B. J. Wambuŕa
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2018 11:18
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21938

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