Recognition and justification : towards a rationalisation approach to inculturation

23 Apr 2021

Several religious and theological approaches to culture in African studies have assessed the idea of inculturation as a helpless incorporation of cultural values from one culture into another. We showed in this article that this is a limited perspective to the process of inculturation, and that this limitation is the reason for the failure of several attempts at inculturation. We assessed inculturation from the angle of marketisation of cultures, and we argued that the adoption or adaptation of cultural elements from one culture into another should be an agentic rationalisation process. The article demonstrated that the rationalisation process is validated by pre-adoption pragmatic experiences or expectations such that the feature(s) being adopted has either initially proven – or at least is expected – to be more useful than what it is meant to replace or enhance. We concluded that a rationalisation approach to inculturation is based on an initial recognition of conceptual entities and practices, the need to adopt them, and a followup justification for this need. Without such perspective, an inculturation effort will not be successfully completed, sustainable or mutually respectful. CONTRIBUTION: Our primary contribution is that we tried to provide broad, agentic, rational approach to inculturation. This contribution is important in sub-fields of Christian Church History and Philosophy of Religion. It properly aligns with this journal’s focus on history of religions, as well as phenomenology, and philosophy of religion(s).