Masculinities and Male Circumcision in Turkey


Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University

February 22, Tuesday, 18:00

As the motivations underlying male circumcision have changed during the history, the meaning of circumcision has never been unilateral. From its first appearance to the present day, male circumcision is deeply rooted in complex societal issues and its link with the norms and ideologies of masculinity should also be considered for a meaningful analysis. In contemporary Turkey, the ritual of male circumcision maintains a strong connection with both religious responsibilities and construction of masculinity. Being a Muslim and being religiously circumcised are still two important elements that provide an advantage for men in their internal hegemonic relations. On the other hand, the rejection of male circumcision by some Turkish Muslim men raises the question of whether their perceptions of masculinity diverge from the hegemonic construction in Turkey. In this talk, at first, I share the discussions about the relations of male circumcision with masculinities in the existing literature and give a Turkish context briefly. After that, I share my field research conducted with self-identified pious Muslim men who are against male circumcision in Turkey. In the light of the results of my research, I argue that religious opposition to male circumcision does not necessarily lead to a general opposition to the hegemonic forms of masculinities or does not deny the connection of circumcision with masculinity construction in Turkey.