Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

New release: Ethical fields in Africa. Edited by Thomas G. Kirsch, Astrid Bochow and Rijk van Dijk

14. August 2017


Special issue of the journal Africa 87, 3 (2017)

Taking account of historical and sociocultural specificities, this Special Issue features in-depth case studies of ethics as ideals in practice from several countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Botswana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania). In doing so, the contributions combine a presentation of ethnographic findings with a discussion of a new conceptual approach for a practice-oriented anthropological study of ‘ordinary ethics’ (Lambek 2010). In this Special Issue, we argue for a rather fluid notion of ethics that entails people’s convictions, value judgements and sentiments on how to live a morally good and/or just life.
We suggest that the making and unmaking of ethical fields takes place within the context of state politics, the influence of international organizations and the emergence of new publics and local NGOs that provide people with new ideas about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. We show that these ethical fields emerge in dialectical processes between what we call the ‘implication’ and ‘explication’ of ethics. (the editors)

Astrid Bochow is a social anthropologist and had a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Konstanz from April 2013 to March 2014. She presently teaches at the University of Göttingen. Since September 2015 she has held a DFG-funded project grant on ‘Social and Religious Activism: Health and Family in Law and Politics’.

Thomas G. Kirsch is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Konstanz and principal investigator of the Center of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration.”

Rijk van Dijk is a researcher at the African Studies Centre, Leiden, and Professor in the Study of Religion and Sexuality in Africa, University of Amsterdam. Since 2013, he is guest professor for anthropology at the University of Konstanz.

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