A critical Discourse on African communalism vis-a-vis Western individualism: The existential realities.

Published: 27 April 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/p8fvkgr5kk.1
Johnkingsley Emedo


Abstract The hallowed nature of communalism as a concept that depicts Africans, relates to the bedrock of sound human relations in traditional African life. From a broader perspective, it reflects the African understanding of identity, humanism, dignity, respect and reliance on one another for meaningful life. In contrast, individualism is regarded to be the base of Western identity, thus, the respect of individual autonomy whilst in the society. However, a systematic inquiry into the root of these cultural identities reflects their ontology, thus, the rationale behind their identity claims. The study interrogates the rightness of the ontology of such identity claims, which within their ambiance are faced with the question “, is the West inherently individualistic?” On the other hand, is communalism inherently African? Thus, using analytical methods of philosophical inquiry, the study delved into the existential realities of these cultures, aiming to give answers to the above questions by looking at the practical reflections of their identity claims. The study discovered that the premise for their identity claims is circumstantial. Therefore the study established that individualism is a human inherent trait, not peculiar to the West alone. Also, communalism is not inherently African alone but a natural ideology that exists in the consciousness of every individual regardless of their culture. Keywords: African communalism, Western individualism, ontology, personal identity.



Nnamdi Azikiwe University