Amilcar Cabral, Colonial Soil and the Politics of Insubmission

Monica Brito Vieira, Filipe Carreira da Silva

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This article discusses the concept of “insubmission.” This concept is the
cornerstone of Amílcar Cabral’s critical theory. 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jan 2024

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