The place of anthropology for African Societies in the present global system
Keywords:social systems, postcolonial Africa, postmodernist, poststructuralist
Across postcolonial Africa, ethnic-, region- or faith-based hostilities are common, consuming lives and resources. Added to these are the false starts that many African nation-states keep making with the received political and economic systems. Many Africans prefer to keep blaming Europeans for bringing disparate groupings under common plural set-ups, although the blames have not made the issues to go away. Illustrating with the Nigerian case, this piece shows that ethnology has been the tool for getting around issues of social plurality occasioned by the current internationalism. However, some purveyors of the poststructuralist and postmodernist formulations would hold that no veridical symbolic systems exist; and that the ethnographers’ reports on social systems are only but representations of the reporters’ own views. This argument that dissuades people from taking the ethnographer’s report seriously renders such an inevitable option as ethnology useless. But why any society taking the advice of the post- post- formulations seriously cannot be excused is that Africa’s history and even current experiences in Nigeria show that ethnology is the only known tool for forging successful social systems among diverse groups whom historical happenstance has pulled into closer contacts.