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Help or hinder?: Journalists affecting the future of female genital mutilation in a patriarchal society
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Is it possible to cover an issue as a journalist to the extent that you are practically a human rights activist, and still contribute to its continuation by unconsciously upholding the values causing the issue? This study asks the question if journalists help or hinder the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM), and puts forth the thesis that journalists as a collective in fact are affecting the development more negatively through their attitudes than positively through their actions.

The study consists of a theoretical analysis connecting to patriarchy and post-colonialism, and a field study from Tanzania where journalists are interviewed. The theoretical results show a clear connection between patriarchal values and FGM, and that if a journalist upholds these values she will not be as inclined to see the victim of FGM as a subaltern, she will be more likely to generalize the groups status and characteristics and she will be caught in between traditional and modern values. If a journalist ascribes to more traditional values when it comes to the difference between the genders, her attitudes will to some extent be counterproductive to the work she does when she covers FGM with the intention to prevent it. The field study supports this by showing that awareness about gender inequality and FGM does not necessarily mean awareness of patriarchal structures and how they affect men, women and traditions. One journalist can make a significant difference, but if she is a part of a journalist collective with strong, patriarchal values her efforts might not be sufficient to help in changing the overall development of FGM.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 52 p.
Keyword [en]
Female genital mutilation, female genital cutting, female circumcision, FGM, patriarchy, journalists, media, attitudes, subalternity, double bind
Keyword [sv]
Kvinnlig könsstympning, kvinnlig omskärelse, patriarkat, journalist
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-295773OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-295773DiVA: diva2:934742
Subject / course
Human Rights
Educational program
Master Programme in Human Rights
Available from: 2016-06-09 Created: 2016-06-09 Last updated: 2016-06-09Bibliographically approved

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