Facing uneasiness in feminist research: The case of female genital cutting

Kathy Davis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Genital cutting evokes an uneasiness among feminist scholars. In this chapter I will show how this uneasiness is ignored, denied and silenced, drawing upon a specific feminist debate about female circumcision in Africa. I then turn to several perspectives provided by feminist scholars for understanding affective experiences of discomfort and show how they can help make sense of the debate and, more generally, the difficulties of having debates about controversial practices. I make a case for treating uneasiness as a resource rather than as a hindrance for understanding female genital cutting because it allows space for differences in experience, contradictory emotions and the inevitable messiness of bodily practices that are both harmful and fervently desired.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBody, Migration, Re/constructive Surgeries
Subtitle of host publicationMaking the Gendered Body in a Globalized World
EditorsGabriele Griffin, Malin Jordal
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781351133678
ISBN (Print)9780815354192
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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