Circoncision: Rite d’affiliation ou de domination?

Saroglou, V. (2014). In R. Burnet & D. Luciani (Eds.), La circoncision aujourd’hui (pp. 103-129). Paris: Editions Feuille.

The review of the existing psychological and medical research leads to the conclusion that there is no (at least today) clear, consistent, and certainly not strong evidence in favor of or against circumcision, in terms of its possible benefits or disadvantages with respect to psychological well-being, health, and sexual satisfaction. Therefore, evaluations of this (religious) ritual can be based mostly on interdisciplinary and ethical considerations. From a psychological perspective, we argue that considering religious circumcision as a ritual simply denoting the importance of religious and/or social identity, affiliation and alliance with the divine and/or the community, or the role of sexuality in human life and men-women complementarity is at least unsufficient. Rather, and more specifically, religious circumcision denotes exclusivist identity, fear or de-consideration of sexuality, physical and symbolic violence (like in hazing practices), and submission to the group and authority.