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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Sociology

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Janice Irvine

Subject Categories

Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health | Work, Economy and Organizations

Abstract

Male circumcision is seen as a cultural and religious event and a rite of passage for boys in Turkey. It is surrounded by public rituals and as there is no equivalent rite of passage for girl children, circumcision signifies a crucial marker of not only religious but also gender differentiation between boys and girls.

Circumcision is a men’s affair and performing circumcision bestows economic privilege and social status on circumcisers (sünnetçi). In this dissertation, I trace the practical and discursive changes in the experience of male circumcision from the perspectives of practitioners. I argue that while circumcision was always a men’s affair, the professionalization and medicalization of circumcision recast the traditional occupation as a site of public masculinity by positing credentials as a barrier to access. This class-based form of modern masculinity, in different historical periods, emphasize the ideals of rationality and science embedded within modern circumcision techniques.

My work unravels the ties between masculinity and work by examining the power relations among different groups of male practitioners of circumcision (traditional circumcisers, health officers, and specialists) mediated by their interactions with families. The medicalization of circumcision (i.e. the introduction of new definitions, values, and knowledge into the practice) was an opportunity for each professional group (first health officers and then specialists) to claim their superiority over other groups and expand their jurisdictions. My dissertation contributes to the feminist studies focusing on the relationship between gender and (professional) work from (neo-) Weberian perspective.

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