Learning commercial beekeeping : two cases of social learning in southern African community natrual resources management contexts.

Masara , Christopher (2010) Learning commercial beekeeping : two cases of social learning in southern African community natrual resources management contexts. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) in southern Africa has gained an important role in alleviating poverty and conserving natural resources. The attention and funding CBNRM is receiving from governments, non-governmental organisations and donors is seen as one way to strengthen civil society‟s involvement in decision-making and participating in activities that contribute to a sustainable livelihood, whilst at the same time learning in their social contexts to adapt and care for the ever changing environment characterised by constraints, challenges, contradictions, new opportunities for learning and change. This study focuses on social learning in commercialisation of natural resource products in two case studies of commercial beekeeping in rural southern African contexts. In this study social learning entails a process of qualitative change taking place in a social context for the purpose of personal and social adaptation. This perspective is useful in this study as learning in the two cases, Hluleka in South Africa and Buhera in Zimbabwe involved the transition beekeeping.from traditional honey harvesting practices and subsistence beekeeping to commercial beekeeping. This study is informed by two related theoretical perspectives namely Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and Social Learning Theory. CHAT was used as conceptual and methodological framework to inform the first phase of data gathering and analysis processes; as well as second phase data gathering. In the first phase, I gathered data through semistructured interviews, document reviews and observations to identify problems, challenges and critical incidents in learning commercial beekeeping, technically known as tensions and contradictions within the CHAT framework. These tensions and contradictions, surfaced through analysis of first phase data were used as „mirror data‟ in Intervention Workshops within CHAT‟s process of Developmental Work Research, which supports social learning in response to tensions and contradictions in workplace activity. Use of mirror data provided a basis for dialogue and the modelling of new solutions to identified contradictions. To interpret the social learning processes resulting from these interactions, I drew on Wals‟ (2007) analytical lenses, through which I was able to monitor social learning processes that emerged from the Intervention Workshop dialogues while beekeepers modelled new solutions to contradictions in learning commercial beekeeping. The findings of the study revealed that social learning in commercial beekeeping is internally and externally influenced by socio-cultural, political and economic complexities. Social learning in Intervention Workshops was supported by different knowledge bases of participants, in this study these are beekeepers, extension officers, trainers and development facilitators. Such knowledge bases were the source of information for learning and constructing model solutions. The study also revealed that learning in CBNRM workplaces can be observed across the development processes, and CHAT as a methodological tool and Wals‟ (2007) analytical tool are complementary and can be used in researching social learning in other CBNRM workplaces. The study contributes in-depth insight into participatory research and learning processes, especially within the context of CBRM in southern Africa. It gives some empirical and explanatory insight into how change-oriented social learning can emerge and be expanded in Education for Sustainable Development. It also provides learning and extension tools to work with contradictions that arise from socio-cultural and historical dimensions of learning commercialisation of natural resources in southern African context. Its other key contribution is that it provides further insight into the mobilisation of human agency and reflexivity in change oriented social learning processes of commercialisation of sustainable natural resources products and poverty alleviation processes that are critical for responding to socioecological issues and risks and development challenges in southern Africa.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bee culture, Southern Africa, Social learning, Natural resources, Management, Conservation of natural resources
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:2103
Deposited By: Madireng Monyela
Deposited On:12 Oct 2011 06:46
Last Modified:20 Jun 2013 13:00
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