Conceptions of personhood and gender indentity in African thought: a philosophical exploration
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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This thesis postulates that gender identity is an integral part or category of human personhood and identity. Based on this, the purpose of this thesis is to provide an examination of the dominant theories of both personhood and gender identity through a literature-based methodology or analysis. In doing so, the thesis explores issues associated with these theories, relate the ideas on gender identity to views on personhood, and attempts to establish the interplay between the two. What is demonstrated is that African traditional conceptions of personhood are incompatible with non-conforming sex relations, practices and gender identities such as homosexuality and/or LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender). While the incompatibility renders such practices and orientations "un-African‘, it also reveals conceptual defects in these African views of personhood. That is, analysis and application of the African conceptions of person to gender identities such as homosexuality, raises fundamental problems and philosophical issues that weakens the very African concept of person in general. These philosophical problems and issues centre around a number of competing constructs such as whether African personhood should be viewed as subjective or objective, that is, intrinsic or extrinsic (or both) to the person considering its inherent and relational nature. The conclusion is that African conceptions of personhood such as the communitarian view, do not only lack inclusivity owing to their tendency to marginalize certain categories of gender in their account of personhood, but have conceptual and philosophical weakness that renders the theories less attractive and favourable.
- PhD Theses