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Imafidon, Elvis (2021) 'African Communitarian Philosophy of Personhood and Disability: The Asymmetry of Value and Power in Access to Healthcare.' International Journal of Critical Diversity Studies, 4 (1). pp. 46-57.

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In this essay, I explore the asymmetry of value and power inherent in African communitarian philosophy’s assumptions about personhood and the implications of these assumptions for disabled people’s access to healthcare in the COVID-19 pandemic era. While African communitarian philosophy forms the fulcrum on which people in an African community thrive and survive, it is also essentially laden with an ontology of exclusion that prioritizes some people as persons over other people who are cast as non-persons. Disabled people – including persons with albinism, autistic people, persons with epilepsy, and persons with angular kyphosis – are ex-cluded as non-persons in this way and are thus unable to enjoy the support of the communitarian structure. In pursuance of the objective of this essay, I begin with an exposition of the nature and contents of African communitarian philosophy. I pro-ceed to analyse the conception of personhood deeply rooted in African philosophy and, by implication, the exclusion of certain beings and persons from the African communitarian philosophical structure. I then show the privileges in terms of value and power that people included within the community of selves enjoy as opposed to the disvalue and lack of power that those excluded from this community face. I show furthermore how this devaluation and disempowerment can become major challenges to wellbeing and healthcare for disabled people, particularly hindering access to healthcare even during a pandemic. I conclude by arguing for the impor-tance of a broad sense of community in African philosophy rather than the narrow sense of community that is currently in place.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: African, communitarian philosophy, ontology of exclusion, narrow sense of com-munity, broad sense of community
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISSN: 25165518
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2022 10:38

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