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The myth of a naturalised male circumcision: Heuristic context and the production of scientific objects

Abstract : In March, 2007, the WHO and UNAIDS established a joint recommendation at the Montreux technical consultation, making male circumcision the first surgery to be used as a preventative tool against an infectious disease. This recommendation was immediately followed by the publication of numerous articles denouncing its content, leading to two distinct controversies, one between epidemiologists, and a second between epidemiologists and social scientists. Interestingly, however, none of these works took male circumcision as an issue in itself, exploring neither that both epidemiologists and social scientists had taken the object 'circumcision' as a given, nor what each party was referring to when talking about circumcision. In this paper, taking a step back, and building on the notion of heuristic context, I show how the RCTs constructed this object in a very specific way, and how this construction was often lost in translation, leading not only to an illusion of universality, but also to misunderstandings between disciplines regarding what is at stake in global health issues.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01682702
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Submitted on : Friday, January 12, 2018 - 2:14:32 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 10:38:01 AM

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Charlotte Brives. The myth of a naturalised male circumcision: Heuristic context and the production of scientific objects. Global Public Health, 2018, 13 (11), pp.1599-1611. ⟨10.1080/17441692.2017.1414284⟩. ⟨hal-01682702⟩

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