Afro-communitarianism or Cosmopolitanism

Journal of Value Inquiry 56 (3):335-353 (2022)
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Abstract

Bernard Matolino argues that the communal foundation of classical African communitarianism should be discarded if communitarian theories would be of any use to modern African political theory. He sets out to propose a theory of communitarianism that not only suits modern African realities but would also be useful to any people including non-Africans. I argue that what he ends up doing is proposing cosmopolitanism, calling into question the “Afro” designation of the title of his theory. I also argue that his position on the relationship between the individual and the community is technically not communitarianism of any sort, calling into question the “communitarian” appellation in his theory. His attempt to divorce communitarianism from communalism is unsuccessful, making communitarianism as unsuitable as a theory of world relations as Matolino claims it is unsuitable for contemporary multiethnic African societies.

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