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Female Genital Mutilation, Fertility Control, Women's Roles, and the Patrilineage in Modern Sudan: A Functional Analysis

Rose Oldfield Hayes
American Ethnologist
Vol. 2, No. 4, Sex Roles in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Nov., 1975), pp. 617-633
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/643328
Page Count: 17
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Female Genital Mutilation, Fertility Control, Women's Roles, and the Patrilineage in Modern Sudan: A Functional Analysis
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Abstract

Infibulation, or Pharaonic circumcision, is a widespread practice in Sudan. It involves cutting away most external female genitalia and almost completely closing off the vaginal opening. The custom is analyzed in context and is found to be functionally interrelated with marriage practices, norms of female modesty, women's roles, family honor, and the patrilineage. The custom furnishes critical support to the patrilineage and has a controlling effect on Sudanese fertility and the population growth rate.

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