Festivity, Inanity and Discourses of the Body as Embodied Knowledge in the Bukusu Circumcision Ritual




Circumcision, Festivity, Joking, Inanity, Ritual


Festivity, momentary inanity, peculiar behaviour and discourses of the body have always been examined as social experiences with a view to interpreting their nature and purpose in the societies they occur. Seldom have scholars extensively examined elements of bawdy symbolism, prescribed taunts, the performance of queer behaviour and the aesthetics of joking relationships within the Bukusu circumcision ritual. The Bukusu circumcision creates a unique bond that unites participants as established by the conception of a utopian and a hypersexualized atmosphere where the temporary suspension of official dogmatism is observed. The aura created from the euphoria of celebrating the coming of age of one of them creates a special type of communication replete with extreme exotic sexual symbolism, prescribed profanity, taboo words and jocular performances as manifest in bodily praxis, songs and conversations. By employing ethnographic methods and using the Carnival Ambivalence Theory, this paper discusses the symbolism apparent in the peculiar behaviour and excessive bawdiness in the Bukusu circumcision. The paper concludes that the meanings manifest in these elements thematize issues concerning personhood, masculinity, gender and status. The paper focuses on how certain episodes of ritual discourse manifest in the Bukusu circumcision ritual.

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How to Cite

CHANGALWA, J., KWEYA, D. and WAKO, F. (2022) “Festivity, Inanity and Discourses of the Body as Embodied Knowledge in the Bukusu Circumcision Ritual”, Egerton University International Conference. Available at: https://conferences.egerton.ac.ke/index.php/euc/article/view/35 (Accessed: 4 March 2024).



Literature, History and Culture