Cultural protection against traumatic stress: traditional support of children exposed to the ritual of female genital cutting.
This study explores the factors addressed in folk psychology in The Gambia for protecting the girl-child from the potential traumatic stress of female genital cutting (FGC). More info →
Abstract- The process of paradigmatic attitudinal change has been analyzed by the use of multimethods and multileveled internalization theories. Forty-six informants (a network of activists and a group of Gambian women) have described their change of attitude to female genital cutting. This study shows that internalizing a packet of information as adults, that contradicts an old schema of knowledge internalized as children, can be experienced as epistemologically very painful. Activists in Norway who have changed their attitude to FGC have got information from different educational institutions, from seminars and conferences, from work as interpreters in hospitals, and from discussions among families and friends. Information can be received, listened to and subsequently discarded. In order to design FGC-abandonment campaigns, the importance of the internalization process in order for the individual to make an attitudinal change must be understood. More info →
Meaning-making of female genital cutting: children’s perception and acquired knowledge of the ritual.
Abstract: How do girls who have undergone female genital cutting understand the ritual? This study provides an analysis of the learning process and knowledge acquired in their meaning-making process. Eighteen participants were interviewed in qualitative indepth interviews. Women in Norway, mostly with Somali or Gambian backgrounds, were asked about their experiences of circumcision. Two different strategies were used to prepare girls for circumcision, ie, one involving giving some information and the other keeping the ritual a secret. Findings indicate that these two approaches affected the girls' meaning-making differently, but both strategies seemed to lead to the same educational outcome. The learning process is carefully monitored and regulated but is brought to a halt, stopping short of critical reflexive thinking. The knowledge tends to be deeply internalized, embodied, and morally embraced. The meaning-making process is discussed by analyzing the use of metaphors and narratives. Given that the educational outcome is characterized by limited knowledge without critical reflection, behavior change programs to end female genital cutting should identify and implement educational stimuli that are likely to promote critical reflexive thinking. More info →