Myths as Contextual Logic for Social Control: The Igbo Example

  • Cardinal I. C. Ihejirika
  • Sampson Obok Edodi


This work argues for the evaluation of myths within the context of their role as a means of social control through the transmission of cherished cultural values and norms, using Igbo mythology as a case study. It argues that the epistemic credentials of myths are largely determined by their historical and cultural contexts; hence, myths defy universal logic and rationalism. It is thus inappropriate, misleading and a mismatch of categories to subject myths to modern Western criteriology, which regards myth as a logically bankrupt, pre-scientific and anachronistic mode of thought. This study contends that such pejorative categorization derives substantially from enculturation, which is the process by which the dominant Western culture completely undermines non-Western belief systems. Our study also reveals that Igbo mythology richly embodies practical rules that guide social living. From three instantiations made in this paper, we observe that myths simply prefer a different logic, which is less stringent and argumentative than those of both science and Western epistemology. Its logic recognizes diversity of cultures and "polysemy" of linguistic expressions. This study utilizes the expository and comparative methods of inquiry. It recommends an acculturation ideology, which integrates the best elements of sciento-cultural rationalities. This fusion, charts a path for society's growth, thereby fostering social control and protecting human personhood from the destructive backlashes of science and technology.

Key Words: Myths, Contextual Logic, Social Control, Acculturation, Igbo


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057