This volume explores a variety of ’harmful cultural practices’: a term increasingly employed by organizations working within a human rights framework to refer to certain discriminatory practices against women in the global South. Drawing on recent work by feminists across the social sciences, as well as activists from around the world, this volume discusses and presents research on practices such as veiling, forced marriage, honour related and dowry violence, female genital ’mutilation’, lip plates and sex segregation in public space. With attention to the analytic utility of the notion of harmful cultural practices, this volume explores questions surrounding the contribution of feminist thought to international and NGO policies on such practices, whether western beauty practices should be analysed in similar terms, or should the notion as such from an anthropological perspective be rejected, how harmful cultural practices relate to processes of culturalization, religionization and secularization, and how they can be challenged, come to transform and disappear. Presenting concrete, empirical case studies from Africa, South East Asia, Europe and the UK Interrogating Harmful Cultural Practices will be of interest to scholars of sociology, anthropology, development and law with interests in gender, the body, violence and women’s agency.
’Providing a critical genealogy of the concept of harmful cultural practices� (HCP) and its analytical potential across a range of contexts, this diverse and thought-provoking collection is a must read for anyone interested in gendered embodied practices globally. Addressing the usefulness of the category of HCP in theory, policy and practice, contributors engage meaningfully with the controversies its use has generated in a postcolonial frame. As such, this is a book that incisively opens up and enriches debates concerning the links between gender, culture and violence cross-culturally.’ Carolyn Pedwell, University of Kent, UK