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Picture of 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

Author(s): Tom Obara Bosire

Book Description

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.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-4331-7
ISBN-10: 1-4438-4331-8
Date of Publication: 01/02/2013
Pages / Size: 235 / A5
Price: £44.99


Tom Obara Bosire holds a PhD in Sociology and Applied Anthropology from the University of Glasgow. He is currently working as a Senior Researcher at the same university, where he has recently taught Social Anthropology courses to undergraduate students, including modules in Interrogating Modernity (Modernity, Family and Household Change); Racialising Modernity; and Global Sexualities and Gender Transformation.

He is also an Associate Editor with Versita publishing house and has keen interests in the sociology of human rights, bio-medical anthropology, state and society, anthropology of the body through somatic body-mind integration, gender studies, and general post-colonial studies in literature.