Maps and memory, rights and relationships: articulations of global modernity and local dwelling in delineating land for a communal-area conservancy in north-west Namibia

Sullivan, S (2021) 'Maps and memory, rights and relationships: articulations of global modernity and local dwelling in delineating land for a communal-area conservancy in north-west Namibia.' Conserveries mémorielles, 25. ISSN 1718-5556 (Forthcoming)

Abstract

Mapping new administrative domains for integrating conservation and development, and defining rights in terms of both new policy and the citizenry governed thereby, have been central to postcolonial neoliberal environmental governance programmes known as Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM). Examples now abound of the complex, ambiguous and sometimes contested outcomes of CBNRM initiatives and processes. In this paper I draw on historical, oral history and ethnographic material for north-west Namibia, particularly in relation to indigenous Khoekhoegowab-speaking Damara / ≠Nūkhoen and ||Ubun peoples, to explore two issues. First, I highlight the significance of historical colonial and apartheid contexts generating mapped reorganisations of land and human populations for memories of access and use that exceed these reorganisations. Second, I foreground a nexus of conceptual, constitutive and affective relationships with lands now bounded as CBNRM administrative units or ‘conservancies’ that have tended to be disrupted through both past events and as economising neoliberal governance approaches have taken hold in this context. Acknowledging disjunctions in conceptions and experiences of people-land relationships may assist with understanding who and what is amplified or diminished in contemporary globalising trajectories in neoliberal environmental governance. In particular, oral histories recording individual experiences in-depth, especially those of elderly people prompted by return to remembered places of past dwelling, can historicise and deepen recognition of complex cultural landscapes that today carry high conservation value.

Item Type: Article
Note:

Professor Sullivan is also the co-editor of this special issue of the journal, entitled ‘Disrupted Histories, Recovered Pasts | Histoires Perturbées, Passés Retrouvés'. Her co-editors are M. Baussant, L. Dodd, O. Otele and I. Dos Santos.

Keywords: maps; memory; affect; identity; rights; land; community-based natural resource management (CBNRM); neoliberalism; neoliberal environmental governance; on-site oral history; cultural landscapes; colonial and postcolonial Namibia; Khoekhoegowab; Damara / ≠Nūkhoen; ||Ubun
Divisions: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 11:45
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2020 08:57
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