1st Edition

Morality, Violence, and Ritual Circumcision Writing with Blood

By Na'ama Carlin Copyright 2023
    192 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book uses the Jewish ritual of circumcision to consider how violent acts are embedded within entrenched moral discourses and offers a new perspective for thinking about violence.

    Intervening in contemporary debates on the Jewish ritual of circumcision, it departs from both the ordinary secular defences of circumcision for medical reasons, and the criticisms that consider it an unethical violation of bodies that cannot consent. An examination of the intersection of violence and morality, this book rejects the binary logic on which popular debates on circumcision hinge, arguing that in some instances violence can be a productive experience and can thus be considered beyond ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Engaging with the works of Jacques Derrida, the author puts forward a framework of violence of ontology, which is characterised as a violence that is related to existence, the violence of being, which resists definition through binary oppositions. In so doing, the author contends that circumcision is in fact a form of generative violence that is leveraged for cultural purposes and inherent in the making of bodies.

    As such, this volume offers a compelling framework that investigates the relationship between bodies, identities, ethics, and violence, and will therefore appeal to scholars of sociology, social theory, and religion with interests in the sociology of the body, ritual, and cultural studies.


    Chapter 1. Problematising Violence and Morality

    Chapter 2. Conceptualising Circumcision

    Chapter 3. The Genesis of Jewish Ritual Circumcision

    Chapter 4. Agency, authorship, and Writing in the Making of the Self

    Chapter 5. From Rite to Write

    Conclusion: The Cut that Makes Whole



    Na’ama Carlin is a sociologist in the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Australia.