Volume 8, Issue 1, 2011
Jacob Ale Aigbodioh
Stigmatization in African Communalistic Societies and Habermas’ Theory of Rationality
The phenomenon of widespread stigmatization of victims of deadly, or previously incurable, diseases in African traditional societies would appear to pragmatically contradict the humanistic values of communalism associated with those societies. However, the implied contradiction of the phenomenon, which borders on irrationality and injustice, seems amenable to a rational explanation when one considers the thick ontological underpinnings of African traditional communalism along with their epistemic significance. The justification of the proffered explanation, the paper avers, is made clearer when it is taken as a paradigm of Jurgen Habermas’ theory of (communicative) rationality and action. Against this background, the paper argues that such global social problems
as terrorism and internet scams may well be justifiable if Habermas’ strategic and contextual models of rationality and action are communicatively valid.