Initiation as a Factor and the Way of Social and Gender Identitfication


Natalia Ksenofontova, Nina Grishina


The article is devoted to the consideration of one of the most important institutions of traditional society – the initiatives that scientists refer to the so-called rites of passage of boys and girls in the age class of men and women. The authors show on numerous examples of different African ethnic groups that initiations are a significant cultural phenomenon as a factor and a way of social and gender identification. Despite the fact that this custom on the continent is observed in some tribes and peoples still, while maintaining its cultural and social significance, it has many opponents not only among feminists, but also representatives of the official authorities and politicians. The article provides statistical data on the spread of this ritual in various countries of modern Africa and analyzes the documents of governments and international organizations designed to combat this archaic phenomenon.


African age classes, gender, prohibition of female circumcision, social identity, initiation, circumcision, rites of passage, traditional society.




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