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Human Affairs

Postdisciplinary Humanities & Social Sciences Quarterly

Editor-in-Chief: Višnovský, Emil

Ed. by Bianchi, Gabriel / Hrubec, Marek / Tartaglia, James

CiteScore 2016: 0.33

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.172
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.415

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Volume 21, Issue 4


The problem of gerontocracy in Africa: The Yorùbá perspective as illustrated in the Ifá corpus

Omotade Adegbindin
Published Online: 2011-12-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13374-011-0043-3


In the field of African philosophy, there exists the belief among the modernists or professional philosophers that gerontocracy is coterminous with authoritarian traditions in traditional Africa which, supposedly, are responsible for the lack of sustained curiosity to look at issues from different perspectives. Drawing from the Ifá literary corpus as a store-house for Yorùbá philosophy, I argue in this paper that gerontocracy in Africa does not construe the idea that the elderly in Africa are rigid in thoughts or have immutable authority which discourages independence of thought. I conclude that the position of the modernists on the supposed manifestation of authoritarianism in Africa derives its continuing force from a conception of philosophy which gives special overtones to the ideas of individuals as opposed to a collectivistic system of thought and the assumption that the multitude cannot produce philosophy.

Keywords: gerontocracy; authoritarianism; individualism; African philosophy; Ifá

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About the article

Published Online: 2011-12-25

Published in Print: 2011-12-01

Citation Information: Human Affairs, Volume 21, Issue 4, Pages 454–469, ISSN (Online) 1337-401X, ISSN (Print) 1210-3055, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13374-011-0043-3.

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© 2011 Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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