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Emerging Perspectives on ‘African Development’

Speaking Differently

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Edited By George J. Sefa Dei and Paul Banahene Adjei

Emerging Perspectives on ‘African Development’: Speaking Differently discusses numerous areas of interest and issues about Africa, including contemporary challenges and possibilities of development. The book critically engages the many ways of presenting ‘development,’ highlighting the interplay of tradition and modernity as well as contestations over knowledge production in ‘post-colonial’ Africa. It offers cautionary words to field practitioners, researchers, and social theorists who work in development using language that is easily accessible to laypersons. This book is also for undergraduate and graduate courses on development, global education, rural development, and Africa studies. For readers looking for something new about Africa beyond the old stories of catastrophes and human misery, this book will be indispensable. It demonstrates that even in the face of many failures, tragedies, and suffering, Africa’s stories can be told with hope and a sense of possibility.
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Chapter 2. Toward an Ontological and Epistemological Understanding of Indigenous African Process of Conflicts and Disputes Mediations and Settlements (CADMAS)

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PAUL BANAHENE ADJEI

This chapter is about teasing out the ontological and epistemological bases of Indigenous approaches to Conflicts and Disputes Mediations and Settlements (herein known as CADMAS) and ways in which they can serve as teachable lessons for broader policy making in the search for good governance and social democracy in Africa. Most of the examples in this chapter are from the cultural practices of Indigenous Akans of Ghana—of which the author is one. Thus, in writing this chapter, I am essentially writing about habits and practices in which I am also an active agent. Therefore, in the spirit of fairness and full disclosure, I am neither innocent nor neutral in the politics I discuss here. The chapter is driven by the following questions: What are the ontological and epistemological knowledge bases for CADMAS among Indigenous Ghanaian communities? In what ways do Indigenous ontological and epistemological knowledge bases inform the process of CADMAS among Indigenous Ghanaian communities? What are the teachable lessons that can be drawn from Indigenous processes and methods of CADMAS for broader policy making in the search for good governance and social democracy as a cornerstone for development in Africa?

There are ontological and epistemological differences in how Indigenous Africans approach CADMAS in contrast with what exists in Western society. Contrary to the views held in the West about what creates conflict in society (see Alan, 2008; Bush & Opp, 2001; Coser, 1956; Dahrendorf, 1958; Danesh, 2002, ← 38 | 39 → 2006; Danesh...

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