MESH Research Fruits
Lecture |The Violence of Conservation in Africa: Rethinking Alternatives
Associate Prof. Frank Matose (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
February 1, 2024 | 17.45 – 19.15 | online
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In the lecture I draw upon our recent book in which we conceptualize violence in conservation areas as encompassing the adverse material and non-material consequences of the ideas of nature and conservation practices whose contestation in practice necessitates the use of overt and covert power by the state and other actors to enforce, manage, and police prescribed relations between people and the environment. We emphasize two main dimensions of the violence of conservation: the institutionalized idea of conservation that makes conservation inherently violent, and the racial hierarchies and demographic character of violent conservation. We identify four conditions that make such violence a permanent feature of conservation in Africa. We draw on theories of non-violence to refute the violence/non-violence duality as a conceptual frame, and to propose non-violence as a set of conditions that render its use an irrational approach to human interactions and relations around protected spaces.
Frank Matose is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Co-Director, Environmental Humanities South Centre at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His research interests are in the political economy of conservation and commons in Africa. He just published an edited volume titled The Violence of Conservation in Africa (https://www.elgaronline.com/view/edcoll/9781800885608/9781800885608.xml) with Maano Ramutsindela and Tafadzwa Mushonga (2022) He is currently finalising a monograph titled Politics of Chronic Liminality: Forests and the power of the marginalised in Southern Africa.