ethical fields

Kirsch, Thomas G., Astrid Bochow & Rijk van Dijk 2017. Introduction: new ethical fields and the implicitness/explicitness of ethics in Africa. Africa 87 (3): 447-461.

"In this Introduction to the Special Issue we develop the notion of ‘ethical fields’, arguing that new ethical fields are emerging in present-day re-configurations of African public spheres. Among other things, these re-configurations result from the increasing engagements with transnationally operating non-governmental organizations, advocacy, and human rights interests, and the proliferation of new life-styles. The emergence of new ethical fields is conjoined by novel forms of ethical boundary-work which results from the manner in which various actors and agencies try to gain legitimacy within wider society. The case studies demonstrate how ethical commitments that were previously tacit and implicit in people’s everyday lives become objects of ‘cultivation’, explicit reflection, commentary, negotiation, and controversies, and thus become ‘extra-ordinary’ and markedly explicated in their potential and social significance. This process also attests to the fact that ethical fields on the African continent are characterised by multi-layered dis/junctures that bring local ethical aspirations in connection with translocally and globally circulating ideas about which ethical notions should guide people's lives."