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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Contesting the African public sphere: a philosophical re-imaging of power and resistance in Ngugi's 'Wizard of the Crow'
Author:Okolo, M.S.C.ISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Volume:34
Issue:2
Pages:59-80
Language:English
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:novels
literary criticism
democracy
public opinion
authoritarianism
power
resistance
About person:Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1938-)ISNI
Abstract:Habermas's ideal notion of the 'public sphere' as the necessary condition for a genuine democracy is applied here in the assessment of the ideas contained in Ngugi's 'Wizard of the Crow' (2007) in an attempt to map out and understand the African public sphere. 'Wizard of the Crow' employs the values of the public sphere to pass satirical comments on society's values and practices: old assumptions are re-interrogated, established world views reviewed and class and gender-silenced issues revealed and re-evaluated. The paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach by employing philosophy and literature, here taken as 'Wizard of the Crow', as investigative tools. The author's choice of 'Wizard of the Crow' to interrogate the African public sphere is particularly guided by the fact that to really encounter the public sphere is to first of all engage it at an imaginary realm. Besides, encountering the issues highlighted in 'Wizard of the Crow' away from the structural discourse of the public sphere helps to humanize and plant them in the consciousness of people who may not have access to exotic academic presentations on the subject. Prefering a philosophical re-imaging of the concerns contained in 'Wizard of the Crow' is to situate them within broader analytical frameworks. By adopting the basic methods of philosophical inquiry - exposition, critical analysis and reconstruction - the issues are lifted from the domain of fiction to the space of systematized knowledge directed at presenting a comprehensive notion of the African public sphere in as far as this can be achieved. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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