SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Imafidon, Elvis (2023) 'Challenges of African Communitarian Philosophy.' In: Imafidon, Elvis, Tshivhase, Mpho and Freter, Björn, (eds.), Handbook of African Philosophy. Cham: Springer Nature, pp. 1-17.

[img] Text - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 23 July 2025.

Request a copy


The chapter critically examines the fundamental and all-embracing philosophy of sub-Saharan African peoples, Afro-communitarianism or African communitarian philosophy. The chapter shows that recent theoretical scholarship on African communitarian philosophy is often removed from the concrete and lived experiences of African peoples in terms of how community and communing are understood. This results in a theory-praxis gap or dichotomy that needs to be bridged to ensure that this philosophy remains relevant for African peoples. The chapter analyses this gap and ways to bridge them by examining four challenges of African communitarian philosophy: the exclusion challenge in relation to an existentially narrow conception of community, the difference challenge in relation to a normative ontology of being in sub-Saharan African communities, the participatory challenge in relation to hierarchies in African communities, and the autonomy challenge in relation to the understanding of relationality. The chapter concludes that the theorization of African communitarian philosophy can only overcome a crisis of relevance and avoid the tendency of serving only the West if it bridges the theory-praxis gap and pay closer attention to the lived experience of African peoples.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Afro-communitarianism, Ubuntu, Participation, Difference, Exclusion, Autonomy, Theory-praxis gap
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISBN: 9783030778989
ISSN: 2524-437X
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in Imafidon, Elvis, Tshivhase, Mpho and Freter, Björn, (eds.), Handbook of African Philosophy. Cham: Springer Nature, pp. 1-17. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2023 08:05
Related URLs: https://link.sp ... 30-77898-9_22-1 (Publisher URL)

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item