Conceptualising personhood, agency, and morality for African psychology

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Adjei, S Baffour
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One of the functions of psychological science is to develop concepts for thinking about people and their well-being. Since its establishment as a scientific discipline in the late 19th century, psychology has developed concepts that are essentially rooted in the specific spatio-temporal context of Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) countries. There is a growing ontological and epistemological awareness that psychological science and practices from WEIRD cultural spaces cannot be exclusively representative of the African experience. I draw from interpersonal violence research to discuss the concepts of personhood, agency, and morality from an African perspective and highlight their theoretical and practical utility for psychological science. Based on African communalism, I argue that an understanding of personhood, agency, and morality as culturally contextualised and socially intentioned phenomena is foundational to the advancement of heterogeneous practices of knowledge production in diverse contexts.
Adjei, S. B. (2019). Conceptualising personhood, agency, and morality for African psychology. Theory & Psychology, 29(4), 484-505.