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Accepted Paper:

Is ubuntu a ontological framework for decolonization?: a case study of social protection program in Malawi  
Daichi Shimizu (University of Tsukuba)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses the use of African ontology as a framework for decolonization, drawing on insights from narratives in a social protection program where Western ontology meets local ontology in the contemporary world.

Paper long abstract:

The aim of the paper is to illustrate the ontological implication of development in relation to modernity/coloniality and decolonization. This implies that development should be recognized as a process of autonomous (re)creation of new, localized forms of development rooted in indigenous knowledge and practices. As in recent research on the ontological discussion of development, the political ontology of how people are "worlding" has been the focus of many researchers. However, many of the discussion on political ontology are referred in the study for Latin America.

The paper draws the insight based on the evidence from the fieldwork on financial inclusion program to support widows conducted in in Malawi. The program is funded by the international funding organization and it is operated by Malawian coordinators in several districts.

The paper discusses by questioning the use of ubuntu, which means "personhood" in English, that are often discussed in the field of political philosophy. In doing so, the paper will critically review the use of ubuntu as an ontological framework also in the Buen Vivir in Latin America in anthropological studies.

The paper concludes by proposing an ontological framework for African decolonization and development from the lived experiences of widows and implementers. The paper further suggests that Ubuntu-based financial inclusion programs should focus on empowering widows by taking into account their local context and lived experiences, and empowering them to make decisions about their own financial futures.

Panel Anth20
African futures and the current decolonial turn
  Session 2 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -