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Thomas Sankara and a Political Economy of Happiness

Part of the Palgrave Handbooks in IPE book series (PHIPE)

Abstract

Works on the political and economic thoughts of Thomas Sankara have gained recent currency in the light of the resurgence of decolonization of knowledge in both the global North and South. This chapter works from the wide-ranging and pluriversal political and socioeconomic imaginaries elaborated upon by Sankara (through his speeches and actions) to tease out his particular political economy as one insistent upon building a society in which each person could work toward self-liberation and dignity. I consider some of the lessons learned from the implementation of these political philosophies during the revolution of August 1983 to October 1987. Finally, I conclude by sketching some of the ways in which contemporary pan-Africanists, decolonial thinkers, green socialists, and others have revived aspects of Sankara’s political economy of justice and “revolution [as] happiness.”

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Notes

  1. 1.

    On the first anniversary of the revolution, Thomas Sankara renamed Upper Volta as “Burkina Faso”: land of upright people and land of people of integrity.

  2. 2.

    Unless otherwise specified, all speeches attributed to Thomas Sankara are available in the (1988) collected volume, Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983–1987, edited by Michel Prairie.

  3. 3.

    I am grateful to the insightful comments and critique of Professor Jean-Pierre Jacob on an earlier draft of this chapter, including his remarks on the unfinished nature of this rail project.

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Murrey, A. (2020). Thomas Sankara and a Political Economy of Happiness. In: Oloruntoba, S., Falola, T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy. Palgrave Handbooks in IPE. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38922-2_10

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