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Abudu, Kenneth U., , . Language and Othering in African Contexts
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 317-329
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

Abstract: Postmodern and post-analytic understanding of African thought was primarily a shift from attempts to understand African thought using Western conceptual lenses to attempt to understand African framework of thought from the conceptual scheme of the people whose thought was being studied. This paradigm shift in the study of a people’s culture championed by such scholars as Ludwig Wittgenstein – notable in his shift from the pictorial theory of language to the game theory – had and continues to have very successful results in the attempts by sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers to understand African (philosophical) thought. We recall, for instance, the insightful studies of Edward E. Evans-Pritchard, Peter Winch, and Robin Horton and the continuous records by ethnophilosophy. What stands out from this shift to conceptual scheme of a people as a means for unraveling their thought and ideas is the importance of language as a factor that cannot be ignored in understanding various aspects of the being, knowing, and acting of a people. This essay follows in this line of reasoning. It focuses on an underexplored area of the role of language in African thought: how language promotes or impedes positive and negative experiences of othering or alterity in African spaces. It argues that language is imperative to understanding the different levels of othering in African societies. It explores four areas where this is obvious: (1) the lack of competence to speak and communicate in the particular language spoken in the African community in which one dwells naturally in others such as person from the community in a manner that may be inimical to her well-being; (2) the ability to speak in a language of an African people to which one was not naturally born to promote positive relation with the self (the speaker) by the other (the community of selves) to the extent of blurring the gap between the self and the other; (3) the power of language to turn a complete stranger to a close friend when two African strangers meet in a foreign land such as in the Diaspora, a friendship formed solely on the basis of the sameness of language; and (4) the manner in which the other in an African place is conceptually represented to express the people’s understanding of and their responsibility toward the other in such a place. The essay concludes that language remains the richest source to explore and the fastest route to follow in the search for a people’s ideas about othering and difference.

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Imafidon, Elvis, , . Africa and the Unfolding of Difference: An Introduction
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 1-11
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Abstract: This chapter provides introductory comments or preliminary remarks to the Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. It begins by defending the claim that difference stands under as the foundation of the unfolding of African philosophy as an academic discipline and the unfolding of many lived experiences in African spaces both in Africa and in the Diaspora. Hence, African philosophy of difference is a critical reflection on the place of difference in the African experience. The chapters in this handbook thus explore various and specific aspects of such lived experiences and the roles difference or alterity play in their unfolding. The handbook is thus divided into five sections with each section exploring key aspects of the importance of difference in the understanding of the African experience. The first section provides conceptualizations of difference in African thought. The second section explores various aspects and provides critical comments on the question of racism, particularly the institutionalized racial discrimination by whites against blacks due to racial differences. The third section examines some key issues emerging from the role difference plays in the unfolding of African experiences such as epistemological issues, the language issue, the role of art in the institutionalization of difference, and moral issues. The fourth section explores the important roles that difference plays in questions of disability, gender, and the non-human other. The last section examines how difference plays key roles in the unfolding of lived experiences in specific African places such as the experience of xenophobia in South Africa, the Skolombos in Calabar, Nigeria, and the land distribution question in Zimbabwe. The chapter concludes that this handbook is an important contribution to alterity discourse in African philosophy not because it exhausts the issues involved, but because it provided a robust discussion that would provoke further reflections and discussions.

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Jimoh, Anselm Kole, , . Justice and the Othered Minority. Lessons from African Communalism
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer,
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Abstract: There are minority groups in every human society, which are often leftovers of the “one” major group of persons within such society viewed as the self-contained group that has nothing to do with the “other” minority groups. The Other is conventionally seen as a threat to the one. Othering within societies invariably results in the exclusion of the Other from the one. By Othering, we mentally or practically classify an individual or group as “not one of us” and, therefore, inferior or less a human person than we are, a process of casting another person, group, or object into a position or role different from mine or ours, and I or we consequently establish my or our identity in opposition to the Other person in a relationship of superiority that allows me or us vilify the Other. Through Othering, we create a system of social exclusion that systematically blocks the Othered minority individual or group from rights and opportunities that are fundamentally the prerogative of all. Hence, issues of justice for the Othered minority naturally arise. This is manifested in the xenophobic treatment of African foreigners in South Africa and Christian minority groups in the mainly Muslim North of Nigeria. The socially excluded is confined to the fringe of society as the minority, whose basic and fundamental rights become privileges by virtue of the Otherness. This chapter critically analyzes and evaluates the manner of othering and exclusion of minority groups in African societies. My primary concern is to examine the role of African communitarian theory in the face of Othering in African societies. I argue that our constant awareness and acknowledgment of our commonness beyond self-contained groups ensures justice and equity in our interpersonal relationships in any human society.

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Myambo, Melissa Tandiwe , , . Class Identity, Xenophobia, and Xenophilia. Nuancing Migrant Experience in South Africa’s Diverse Cultural Time Zones
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 465-488
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Abstract: In 2008 and 2015, South Africa’s most deadly and violent xenophobic attacks erupted. Dozens of people were killed and thousands displaced. The dominant storyline in the media and the academy cast the figure of the migrant as the perpetual victim of xenophobia and as the ultimate Other. There was not enough emphasis on nuancing that statement to indicate that it is not all migrants who run the risk of deadly xenophobia even though xenophobia is pervasive across all South African socioeconomic classes. Deadly attacks only took place in specific microspaces, or Cultural Time Zones (CTZs). Those living in the CTZ of the informal settlement (shanty town) were most vulnerable. Migrants in economically privileged CTZs like the wealthy suburbs do not typically become victims of xenophobic violence. In this paper, I attempt to examine the relationship between (micro)space and migrant experience. Through an analysis of South African cities as a cluster of radically different CTZs where language, skin color, race/ethnicity, education, socioeconomic class, etc. function in different ways to impact the migrant experience, I try to uncover the nuanced reasons why working-class migrants who work and live in socioeconomically deprived CTZs may experience violent xenophobia, while middle-class professionals, especially those from Western countries, often enjoy high levels of xenophilia. This chapter employs the philosophy of Cultural Time Zone theory to explain this paradox and explore how some migrants are considered culturally “closer” to the South African Self, while some are viewed as culturally more “distant” Others.

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