21st COE Program Seminar
Public Seminar on African Area Studies
Date: Monday, September 26, 2005 15:00 - 17:00
Venue: Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University,
Seminar Room (#307) on the Common Building, 3rd Floor.
(46 Simoadachi-cho, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto)
Title: "Culture and Development in Africa:Building on positive cultural practices to promote development"
Speaker: Gebre Yntiso, Ph.D.
(Chairman, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Addis Ababa University / Visiting Scholar, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University)
In Africa, cultural factors have rarely been considered in development
policies/strategies. This may have to do with the general conceptualization
of the link between culture and development. For analytical purposes, the
conceptualization of the relationship between the two may be reduced to two
broad approaches. The first approach holds that the cultures of African
societies hinder development, and therefore they should be replaced by
modern practices. The second approach emphasizes that cultures, no matter
where, contribute to and benefit from development. Since recent years, there
has been a growing recognition on the part of scholars and some international
agencies (e.g., the World Bank and UN organizations) that the link between
culture and development is complementary and this represents an opportunity
for promoting the well-being of human beings. The call today is not just to
recognize cultural factors but also to make them an integral part of development
strategies. The challenge, however, is how to take culture into account both
scientifically and practically. Based on selected review of literature on
different parts of Africa, I would like to identify and discuss some examples
of 'African positive cultural practices' that could be promoted to contribute
to development goals of the continent.
Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University