SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Amílcar Cabral and Amartya Sen: Freedom, Resistance and Realism in Political Theory

Dr. Lawrence Hamilton (University of Cambridge)

Date: 16 January 2019Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 16 January 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4429

Type of Event: Seminar

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

Lawrence Hamilton is Professor of Political Studies at the University of
the Witwatersrand (Wits). He holds the SARChI/Newton SA-UK Bilateral
Research Chair in Political Theory, Wits and Cambridge, where he teaches
and researches on various topics in political theory, South African
politics and the history of political and economic thought. He
contributes to rethinking political theory from the perspective of the
global South. He has held visiting positions in Salvador, Caracas, Cape
Town and Cambridge, is an elected member of the Academy of Science of
South Africa (ASSAf) and is editor-in-chief of Theoria: A Journal of
Social and Political Theory. His many articles and books include Freedom
is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation (Cambridge University
Press 2014), Are South Africans Free? (Bloomsbury 2014) and The
Political Philosophy of Needs (Cambridge University Press 2003). He
directs APTA and the Witwatersrand-Cambridge Exchange Programme. He is
the recipient of over twelve awards for research excellence and is the
only political scientist ever to receive an A-rating from the South
African National Research Foundation (NRF).


Resistance to colonization in Africa has generated fruitful accounts of
the relationship between the development of human capacities and powers,
political freedom and realism in political theory. In this article I
bring some of these out by comparing the work of Amílcar Cabral and
Amartya Sen on capability, freedom and resistance. Cabral, I submit, is
more felicitous than Sen because Cabral remains resolutely realist. The
defense of this claim rests upon and helps to identify a distinction
between realistic political theory and realism in political theory,
where the latter is compatible with being utopian in thought or action.
The article ends with suggestions as to what follows from this regarding
justice and democracy.

Chair: Dr. Manjeet Ramgotra

Organiser: Dr. Matthew Eagleton-Pierce

Contact email: