Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria
Dr Elvis Imafidon teaches in the Department of Philosophy, Ambrose Alli University in Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Study (JIAS). His research generally centres on African ontology and ethics and modern Western philosophy with specific interests in issues of alterity, disability and gender. He is concerned with the extent to which African concepts of reality affect the African idea of the good, and the implications of African ontology for concepts such as corruption, alterity, disability, difference, personhood and gender. In the past few years, he has been specifically concerned with the implications of African ontology for the albinotic other in Africa, he is the author and editor of several books most recent of which are African Philosophy and the Otherness of Albinism (Routledge 2019) and editor of Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference (Springer 2019). At the IPONS 2020 Conference, Elvis will be presenting a keynote titled “Beyond Continental and African Hegemonies of Personhood and the Nursing of the Other” where he will explore hegemonies in person-centred healthcare systems and how such can be overcome.
Keynote abstract: Beyond Continental and African Hegemonies of Personhood and the Nursing of the Other
In this keynote, I address the challenges that the ideological hegemonies of personhood imbibed by nurses and patients could pose for the nursing profession in a person-centred health care system, particularly in the care for the other. Dominant or hegemonic conceptions of personhood in particular spaces often consist of self-contained ideas and essential ontological and normative properties of what it means to be a person, lack of which results in the denial of personhood and the othering of a being as a non-person. The other as the residue of such self-contained notions of personhood is most often denied of the quality of care that the one who fits within such conceptions enjoy. For nurses and other health-care workers to overcome this discrimination of the one from the other, they must overcome hegemonies and ideological dominance and be more open to alternative viewpoints and theories. I develop these points by drawing from the rich ideological traditions of Continental and African philosophies. I begin by showing how hegemony reigns in these traditions not only in the conception of a person in general, but interestingly, in the conception of a nurse-person in particular. I then proceed to show that the Continental and African conceptions of personhood consist of self-contained notions of bodily and non-bodily features of a person. I then show further the implication of such conceptions of the person for the understanding of, and care for, the other in a person-centred health care system. I instantiate this with the othering of persons with albinism (PWAs) in African thought and a conservative conception of person in the Judeo-Christian tradition. I conclude by highlighting aspects of Emmanuel Levinas’ theory of alterity that are essential in overcoming hegemonies of personhood that inhibit care for the other.