Africa and International Relations in the 21st Century by Scarlett Cornelissen

By Scarlett Cornelissen

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Thank you to Tim Shaw for drawing my attention to this. 4. See, for example, Drezner and Farrell (2008). 3 Collectivist Worldview: Its Challenge to International Relations Thomas Kwasi Tieku Introduction This chapter unpacks individualist and collectivist worldviews in social science scholarship to show that many scholars in the English-speaking international relations (IR) community look at the world through the prism of individualism, which usually renders unheard the international experiences and voices of people in the global South.

48; Riesman, 1986). The reason for this is that collectivist cultures prioritize the social over the personal and group preferences over individual interests and goals. , 2002). In such cultures, individuals are deemed interdependent, and their self is assumed to be inextricably linked with the selves of others (Markus and Kitayama, 1991; Oyserman, 1993; Triandis, 1995). The key identity markers in collectivist societies are group membership and obligations.

The principle of ubuntu provides one such possibility. Essentially an indigenous world view referring to the notion of ‘collective personhood’ or, in the words of Archbishop Tutu, ‘the very essence of being human’, ubuntu may tell us something of how Southern Africans view the international community, and the responsibilities of citizens and states towards one another. It could also shed light on how African states engage with the international, including each other. For example, the displays of solidarity by African states mentioned earlier could be explained on the basis of ubuntu.

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