Khitan Perempuan: Who Speaks for the Indonesian Female Circumcision?

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Abstract

Throughout the paper the author focuses on the ritual of female circumcision in Indonesian Java, more specifically in the city of Yogyakarta. By the help of fieldwork and academic literature she examines this not merely taboo but also legally forbidden practice in the biggest Muslim country in the world. Female circumcision (FC) in Java and Indonesia in general is considered as a daily practice going hand in hand with tradition. The author puts to the foreground the form of circumcision performed in Yogyakarta and its classification as a symbolic and less invasive one. She explains the history of this ritual in the archipelago, national and international regulations and guidelines, analyzes the role of different authorities (state, religious leaders and NGO’s) on the persistence/abundance of FC and as a consequence its ‘globalized’ form (medicalizetion of FC). The author learns and emphasizes that this is a practice taken for granted, whose origin is little known to the interlocutors (the executors and participants of the ritual) and that the existing literature on the subject is insufficient. For such research a careful approach is of key importance and the author frequently utilizes the help of cultural relativism, reductionism and the use of narrative.

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