Utskrift från Malmö universitets webbplats www.mah.se

Genitals and Gender: The Politics of Genital Modifications

This study is financed by the Swedish Research Council and will be conducted by Sara Johnsdotter and Birgitta Essén, 2009-2011

This study, conducted by an anthropologist and a gynaecologist, aims at reaching an understanding of societal views of the relation between ’sex’, ’gender’ and genitals, through analysing the political positions that have given rise to decisions to advocate, accept or criminalise certain surgical genital modifications. The phenomena analysed are male and female circumcision, cosmetic genital surgery, hymenoplasty and operations on transsexual adults/intersexual infants. Society’s views of these procedures have their own social, medical and political history, and as yet there is no systematic analysis juxtaposing them. The theoretical approach is social constructivist, inspired by gender theory and critical medical anthropology. Empirical data include legislative texts and qualitative interviews with professionals in medicine and with key activists. Through discourse analysis we will explore the social values about ’sex’ and ’gender’ that are conveyed in legal decisions and medical practice in this field, and in alternative discourses. The study adds to our research about female genital cutting and cosmetic genital surgery. Procedures involving the genitals provide an arena where medicine and culture converge. Understandings of ‘sex’ are interwoven with politicised socio-cultural constructions of ‘gender’. What is ‘given by nature’ can be modified through surgery, but medical practice itself develops within a norm structure that is time- and culture-bound.

Senast uppdaterad av Charlotte Löndahl Bechmann