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Between appropriation and assassination: Pedagogical disobedience in an era of unfinished decolonisation

Amber Murrey (School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 21 November 2019

Issue publication date: 21 November 2019



Oriented to ongoing student and university momentums for decolonial futures, the purpose of this paper is to interrogate the role and status of mainstream international development curricula and pedagogies by critiquing two absences in the sub-discipline’s teaching formulae: appropriations and assassinations.


The author draws from a decade of research on oil extraction in Central Africa, including ethnographic work with two communities in Cameroon along the Chad–Cameroon Oil Pipeline; four years of research (interview-based and unofficial or grey materials) on the 1983 August Revolution in Burkina Faso and assassination of Thomas Sankara; and five years of experience teaching international development in North America, Western Europe and North and Eastern Africa.


Through a critical synthesis of political and rhetorical practices that are often considered in isolation (i.e. political assassinations and corporate appropriation of Indigenous knowledges), the author makes the case for what the author calls pedagogical disobedience: an anticipatory decolonial development curricula and praxis that is attentive to the simultaneity of violence and misappropriation within colonial operations of power (i.e. “coloniality of power” or “coloniality”).


This paper contributes to debates within international development about the future of the discipline given its neo-colonial and colonial constitutions and functions with a grounded attention to how this opens up possibilities for teaching praxis and scholarship in action.



Murrey, A. (2019), "Between appropriation and assassination: Pedagogical disobedience in an era of unfinished decolonisation", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 46 No. 11, pp. 1319-1334.



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