Conflict Resolution in Africa: Language, Law, and Politeness in Ghanaian (Akan) Jurisprudence provides significant insights into culturally congruent African communicational mores for resolving conflicts. The author discusses the African concepts of power, politeness, and persuasion, how they index and are indexed by language, their pervasiveness in African jurisprudence, and the consequences of not paying attention to them in the judicial discourse ecology. Important speech acts discussed are: concurrence, dissension, apology, pleading, request, cross-examination, persuasion, questioning, and challenging. The linguistic, discursive, and metacommunicative tools for managing the speech acts are elucidated, as are the structure and management of the courtrooms' turn taking, speech dominance, interruptive talk, and pre-sequences. The author stresses that understanding how a people resolve their conflicts is important to achieving world peace and social harmony.
"A brilliant account of a solid investigation into conflict resolution in Africa by a great intellectual. Professor Obeng provides a detailed account of the nexus between language, power, politeness and law in the rendering of justice, and in ensuring cohesion in an African society. He lucidly demonstrates his deep understanding of linguistics, traditional law and lore, and his respect for African social, political, and judicial institutions. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in peace, unity, and justice for the universal human experience."—Joe Amoako, Chair of the Department of English and Foreign Languages, Delaware State University
"This book has proven the singular importance of language and linguistics in helping to understand and promote world peace. Law and politics inform and are informed by language just as language finds authenticity and actuality in politics and jurisprudence. Professor Obeng, a linguist and poet, takes us through the constituents of language structure and how they are intertwined with Ghanaian Native Court judicial interactions. All stakeholders in conflict resolution in Africa will benefit from this important book."—Raphael Njoku, Chair of the Department of Global Studies and Languages, Idaho State University
This book is part of the African World Series, edited by Toyin Falola, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin.