Animism in African Philosophy: A Psychosocial examination after Senghor, Bergson and Deleuze and Guattari

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african animism
african philosophy


Using a new psychosocial approach and my own research data, this paper examines animist thought and praxis’ contribution to past and present African philosophy. The Negritude African philosophy and aestheti- cs writing of Senghor, and the European continental philosophy of Bergson, Deleuze and Guattari are used throughout in an analysis of the words and practices of two animist traditional healers. Psychosocial methods challenge any straightforward focus on language and cognition. They are a compelling choice for examining topics that require getting close to participants’ experiences and/or can produce moments of doubt in resear- ch, or when words may not be enough. This paper highlights African animist thought and praxis’ potential for contributing to spheres of philosophical discourse beyond ethics, metaphysical essence or nature. It is valuable to explore it and not to labour under any prejudice or the fear of being derided due to a hegemony of Western philosophy and ideas