What is this thing called love? A gender implication of the ontologico-epistemic status of love in an African traditional marriage system
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Though its actual nature and content remain debatable, the importance of love in human relations is indubitable. This paper attempts an exploration of the phenomenon of love in the institution of marriage in Esan traditional culture. It questions the reality or ontology of love or its epistemic content within the said culture. In other words, the question is, is there love in the Esan traditional marriage system? If there is none, then it is an ontological issue. And if there is, with what epistemological framework can it be accessed? To this end, the paper employs what could be regarded as a working definition of love which could include notions such as commitment, care, intimacy, and self-giving. With this understanding, the paper interrogates the doctrine of love among the Esan people and sets out how gender is implicated in the conception of love and marriage in traditional Esan society.
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