Surviving loss and remaking the world: Reflections on the singular universal in a West African setting

Michael Jackson


As an ethnographer, I am obliged to reflect on the philosophical implications of my work to the same extent that I assume that any productive engagement with the human condition necessarily involves both participation in and observation of lived situations and actual events, and not simply the experience-distant interrogation of collective representations or the interpretation of texts. Accordingly, the following account of bereavement among the Kuranko of northeast Sierra Leone will show how phylogenetic elements and psychological processes, readily recognizable to anyone in any society, are dynamically counterpointed with cultural elements that are peculiar to this West African lifeworld.


Kuranko, Bereavement Reaction, Philosophical Anthropology, singular universal, emotionality and sociality

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/698270