From ‘Sensing Disability’ to Seselelame: Non-dualistic Activist Orientations in Twenty-First-Century Accra

  • Kathryn Linn GeurtsEmail author
  • Sefakor G. M. A. Komabu-Pomeyie
Part of the International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice book series (IPSPAP)


Seselelame can be described as “feeling in the body” and is often used to capture the way many west Africans foreground bodily feeling as a vital source of information about environment, self-making, and moral knowing. As a local iteration of a broad African foundational schema, seselelame spawns a fusion rather than atomization of the senses, an integration rather than splitting of mind–body communication. Disability activists in Accra, Ghana, exhibit the influence of seselelame in their reflections on navigating and confronting ableist cultural practices. These accounts, gathered through interviews and observant participation in 2010, resonate strongly with Mairian Corker’s (2001) ideas about “sensing disability”. In this chapter we seek to provide a critical exploration and navigation of a specific instance of global South disability through the senses and sensory experience, thereby opening up new avenues to explore processes of disability subjectivity and embodiment beyond a northern canon. Adopting a strong anthropological lens, the chapter explores how sensory experience is framed culturally, and how a concept of disability sensibilities helps us dialogue across differences.


Feelings Senses Local knowledge Cultural practice Cultural locations Ghana Southern epistemologies 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Linn Geurts
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sefakor G. M. A. Komabu-Pomeyie
    • 2
  1. 1.Hamline University College of Liberal ArtsSt PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department- Ghana OfficeEnlightening and Empowering People with Disabilities in Africa (EEPD Africa) and World Learning Global Advisory CouncilNsawamGhana

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