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Amilcar Cabral, Colonial Soil and the Politics of Insubmission

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Carreira da Silva, Filipe Miguel 
Brito Vieira, Monica 


This article discusses the concept of “insubmission.” This concept is the cornerstone of critical theory of Amílcar Cabral, one of the most important anticolonial thinkers of the twentieth century. Introduced in his early agronomic writings, it refers to the human species’ refusal to submit to the nature of which we are always a part. The context is the anticolonial critique of traditional European humanism. Insubmission is Cabral’s response to the dehumanising effects of colonialism and the environmental impact of anthropocentric extractivism that accompanies it. As a linchpin in Cabral’s theoretical framework, insubmission serves to structure and impart meaning to other concepts. Notably, it provides fresh insights into the multifaceted concept of “resistance.” Cabral underscores the imperative of combating dehumanisation through physical fortitude (physical and armed resistance), intellectual resilience (cultural resistance), and institutional strength (political resistance). Additionally, it emphasises the necessity of averting environmental catastrophes through a socio-economic development model (economic resistance) underpinned by a resolute ethical commitment to responsible soil conservation practices.



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Theory, Culture & Society

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SAGE Publications

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“Race Trouble. Decolonizing race and racial inequality in postcolonial Portugal” (2022.04225.PTDC) exploratory research project, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education.