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Intersex - A Challenge for Human Rights and Citizenship Rights
Södertörn University College, School of Social Sciences.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose with this dissertation is to study the Intersex phenomenon in South Africa, meaning the interplay between the dual sex and gender norms in society. Hence, the treatment by some medical institutions and the view of some non-medical institutions upon this ‘treatment’, have been studied in relation to the Intersex infant’s human rights and citizenship rights. The thesis has moreover also investigated how young Intersex children are included/excluded and mentioned/not mentioned within South Africa’s legal system and within UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Furthermore, because Intersex children are viewed as ‘different’ on two accounts – their status as infants and born with an atypical congenital physical sexual differentiation, the thesis’ theoretical framework looks at the phenomenon from three perspectives – ‘the politics of difference’, human rights, and citizenship rights directed towards infants. The theoretical frameworks have been used to ask questions in relation to the empirical data, i.e. look at how the Intersex infants are ‘treated’ in relation to their status as ‘different’; and also in relation to the concept of being recognized, respected and allowed to partake in deciding whether to impose surgery or not. Moreover, what ‘treatment’ serves the best interest of the Intersex child? This has been done through semi structured interviews.

In conclusion, some of the dissertation’s most important features are that since the South African society, like many other societies, strongly live by the belief that there are only two sexes and genders, this implies that Intersex infants do not fit in and become walking pathologies who must be ‘fixed’ to become ‘normal’. Moreover, since most genital corrective surgeries are imposed without being medically or surgically necessary, and are generally imposed before the age of consent (18), the children concerned, are generally not asked for their opinion regarding the surgery. Lastly because early corrective surgery can have devastating life lasting consequences, this ultimately means that the child’s human rights and citizenship rights are of a concern. These conclusions do however not ignore the consequences one has to endure for the price of being ‘different’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Institutionen för samhällsvetenskaper , 2006. , p. 130
Keywords [en]
Intersex, DSD (Disorder of Sex Development), young children, infants, genital reconstruction, normalizing, fixing, human rights, citizenship rights, sex and gender.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-890OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-890DiVA, id: diva2:16614
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
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Available from: 2006-09-18 Created: 2006-09-18 Last updated: 2018-01-13

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
  • rtf