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Accepted Paper:

Bridging the ‘Universalistic-Localistic-Divide’ in African’s Sustainability Practices: The Applicability of Ubuntu to Contemporary Socio-ecological Care Systems  
Bendicto Kabiito (Uganda Martyrs University)

Paper short abstract:

The divide between universalistic and localistic solutions to local, context-specific socio-ecological challenges persist in Africa. Given the projected severe impacts of climate change and ecological destruction to Africa, appeal to Ubuntu, localized knowledge-value system for insight is in order.

Paper long abstract:

While occasionally successful, application of universalistic (scientistic) approaches to ecological challenges often yield deplorable consequences. Even then, however, there has been an increasing shift from sustainability practices founded on cultural/communal/traditional epistemic systems, whose operationalization manifest context-specificness (referred to herein as localistic worldviews), to universalistic epistemic worldviews, engrained in exclusive preference for what is regarded as ‘objective’ knowledge realms. Such approaches often fail, but they also often appear chauvinistic, by undermining the importance of local knowledge and value systems and their potential contribution to environmental protection discourses.

While humanity is collectively threatened by environmental and climate change insecurities, Africa is most at risk of their effects. In addressing these challenges however, locally-grown solutions are rarely sought. This paper, therefore, seeks to discerns how native epistemic systems, taking Ubuntu as a case of analysis, can be used to inform and improve Africa's contemporary socio-ecological care practices.

In an endeavour to customize socio-ecological care systems; immune from ontological and epistemic and

limitations of the universalistic approaches, one of the most praised Africa's value system; Ubuntu, is evaluated. This aims at reimagining its applicability to Africa’s contemporary practices of socio-ecological care. The questions I seek to answer are; What were the ideal conditions for the embodiment and application of the Ubuntu worldview in traditional socio-ecological care systems of Africa? What was the practice of Ubuntu like? How can the ‘knowledge-value-action’ constituents of the Ubuntu worldview blend with the knowledge-value-action constituents of the scientistic worldview for an improved socio-ecological care systems in Africa?

Panel Eco003
Centering Ecologies in re-configuring Africa studies – emerging perspectives
  Session 2 Wednesday 2 October, 2024, -