Chapter

Towards an ‘anthropology of philosophy’: The ethnography of critical discourse and intellectual practice in Africa

Kai Kresse

in Philosophising in Mombasa

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780748627868
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652976 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627868.003.0002
Towards an ‘anthropology of philosophy’: The ethnography of critical discourse and intellectual practice in Africa

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An anthropological investigation into philosophy provides insights and information about traditions of knowledge and intellectual practice elsewhere in the world, in social contexts very different from our own. This chapter carves out one particular approach about how this could work in relation to the Swahili context and against the background of discussions in African philosophy. Philosophy, as socialised discourse and practice, overlaps with other areas of anthropological interest, such as literature and religion. These overlaps, of genre and of discipline, can be investigated and made useful as points of orientation. However, one difficulty of introducing the project of an ‘anthropology of philosophy’ to an interdisciplinary audience with widely disparate expertise and background is dealing with all the subject-specific matters and questions in appropriate depth. The discussion tries to find a balance, presenting several sub-disciplinary turns that lead to an anthropology of philosophy.

Keywords: Swahili; African philosophy; anthropology; anthropological investigation; knowledge

Chapter.  11340 words. 

Subjects: African Studies

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