Not talking in riddles: to what extent can the making and use of factual documentary change understanding and attitudes towards Female Genital Mutilation in The Gambia?

Aslett, Judy (2021) Not talking in riddles: to what extent can the making and use of factual documentary change understanding and attitudes towards Female Genital Mutilation in The Gambia? Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigated the extent to which documentary film can aid the process of attitude and behaviour change, specifically as part of the campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia. It involved the making of three versions of a factual documentary in collaboration with grassroots activists and the journalist Halimatou Cessay. I have evaluated the film using Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research (PEER) methods in the Brikama region of The Gambia. Two hundred million women worldwide have undergone Female Genital Mutilation where their clitoris and other parts of their genitalia are removed for no medical reason. In The Gambia, seventy five percent of girls and women have undergone FGM, most before the age of fifteen. The practice was made illegal in The Gambia in 2016 but FGM is still carried out and to date there have been no successful prosecutions. In this thesis I examined the potential for how factual documentary film could help change people’s minds about FGM. I examined what style should be used in making the film, who should be interviewed and what arguments should be put forward. I examined how a Western documentary maker (myself) could work collaboratively with grassroots NGOs and a Gambian presenter. The film sought to accurately reflect the current debates and practise of FGM in the country, with a view to encouraging and supporting the ending of the practice. The results of the research showed that factual documentary film could be an effective tool in campaigns such as this. The key finding was that the most effective film should be made in a collaborative style taking into account the experience of the local NGOs and the nuances of the local culture and traditions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN406 Cultural traits, customs, and institutions
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN537 Ethnic groups and races > GN643 Africa > GN652.5 West Africa. Including Central Africa > GN655.G35 Gambia
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures > PN1995.9.A-Z Other special topics, A-Z > PN1995.9.D6 Documentary films
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2021 09:22
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/98488

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