The Equivocal Concept: The Work of Bourahima Ouattara

Martinon, Jean-Paul. 2015. The Equivocal Concept: The Work of Bourahima Ouattara. International Journal of Francophone Studies, 18(2-3), pp. 339-358. ISSN 1936-6280 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The philosopher Bourahima Ouattara claims that Africans have a unique feature that can help them fight against the West’s economic, cultural and intellectual hegemony and therefore against globalization. This feature is that of ‘being’ outside of all conceptuality. Being outside (or being-third), Sub-Saharan Africans are therefore able to expose the weakness of the West’s mighty power: the stubborn repetition of its founding principle: the concept. Instead of just emulating concepts from former colonies or avidly promoted by global capitalism, Sub-Saharan Africa should, according to him, unhinge itself from the concept in order to undermine the concept-driven modernity that marks our world’s destiny. Can Bourahima Ouattara’s bold claim really work? Should we all—i.e. not just Africans—listen to him? This essay tries not only to make sense, but also to test this ambitious attempt to undermine the arrogance and imperialism of the concept, this cornerstone of western philosophy since Plato.

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Special issue edited by Pierre-Philippe Fraiture on African Philosophy and the Aftermath of Empire


African philosophy, ethno-philosophy, conceptual take off, Theodor Adorno, Martin Heidegger, Bourahima Ouattara

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Visual Cultures


1 July 2015Published
5 February 2015Accepted

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Date Deposited:

08 May 2015 08:51

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:19

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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