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Title: Constructions of indigenous African leadership : a social, anthropological and discursive exploration of two regions
Author: Eyong, Joseph Ebot
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 4669
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis deploys a transdisciplinary approach that complementarily combines organisational and social anthropological research lenses to explore constructions of indigenous African leadership with a focus in two regions in west and central Africa. The thesis engages with the complex social construction processes of leadership within an indigenous African cultural and traditional council institution and within the more formal local government councils. Empirical data was generated through unstructured interviewing, group discussion, and fieldnotes of lived experience and daily interaction with the local people. Empirical evidence uncovered the prevalence of conviviality, humanity, community inter-dependence and spirituality as the dominant and underpinning characteristics in the discourse and practice of leadership within indigenous cultural and traditional councils. The research uncovers a firm assumption of ancestral and godly intervention in leadership practices based on hegemonic historical belief systems encoded in historical mythologies and stories. These cultural hegemonies are replicated in cultic rituals, sacrificial repertoires and convivially celebrated in folklore. Furthermore, meanings and understandings of leadership are known, encapsulated and portrayed by from the natural ecology with trees, animals and ornaments emerging as embodiments of leadership. Additionally, there is a strong assumption that leadership is virtually enabled and directed by non-human forces such as ancestors and gods, giving rise to the dominance of the notion of leadership as metaphysical and transcendental. Within the more formal local government councils a complex cohabitation and interweaving of the local socio-cultural and traditional perceptions of leadership and Western ideology and practices is evident. The unfolding practice and narrative evolve an esplanade of constant confrontation, multifarious tension and emerging challenge between both influences. This leads to a dramaturgical concomitancy of hybridity, mutation and multiple configurations of approaches and practices influenced by a range factors. The thesis contributes knowledge into the areas of: African leadership Studies (ALS), critical leadership studies (CLS) and leadership studies more generally. In particular it advances the non-human dimension, unearths the rituals and symbols and unravels the prevailing metaphysical and transcendental thinking in the discourse and practice of leadership in context.
Supervisor: Ford, Jackie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available