- 'There's a Nation United': On the Interaction of Affect and Discourse in Shifting Significations of Ubuntu
- Volume | Issue number
- 2014 | 2
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This article seeks to enhance understandings of the concept of ubuntu as primarily intuitive, by explicating the interrelated influence of both discursive processes and affective connotations on its meaning. It does so by first analysing ubuntu in the context of the South African truth and reconciliation process, where it was championed as an exemplary way to achieve national unity through reconciliation and forgiveness. It subsequently moves on to assess a setting twenty years later where these significations are transformed and displaced in favour of promoting a second, commercialised form of national unity. By looking at ubuntu through the lens of Sara Ahmed’s notion of affect, the article aims to suggest how these shifts in the meaning of ubuntu help to rethink what seems to be a binary opposition between affect and the workings of discourse in recent theories on affect.
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