Wattle we do? : alien eradication and the 'ecology of fear' on the fringes of a world heritage site, South Africa

Merron, James Lawrence (2011) Wattle we do? : alien eradication and the 'ecology of fear' on the fringes of a world heritage site, South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




In their article ―Naturing the Nation: Aliens, the Apocalypse and the Post Colonial State‖ (2001) Jean and John Comaroff look at ―the contemporary predicament‖ of South Africa through the prism of environmental catastrophe. Through it they reveal the context in which alien plants have become an urgent affair of the state. Following their lead, I show how alien plants (particularly Australian wattle) continue to provide grounds for new social and political aspirations in South Africa, though in a different setting. With reference to a group of private landowners on the fringe of a World Heritage Site -- the Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa -- I show how an increasingly apocalyptic and xenophobic environmental agenda has influenced local activists seeking to address social and ecological issues in tandem with alien-eradication. These local activists adhere to a particular brand of ‗environmentalism‘ which Milton (1993) argues can be considered a social, cultural and religious phenomenon. The subjects of my main empirical investigation offer practical ways of achieving a transformational end through a new ritual activity in relation to a spread and exchange of environmental ideas and practices on a world-wide scale. On the ground this group practices ‗ecosocietal restoration‘ through which they aspire to mend the bond between people and the land in a spiritual and moral sense, bolstering intrinsic incentives for environmental stewardship and achieving ―cultural reconciliation‖ in an attempt to reimagine what South Africa could be.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Wattles, Invasive plants, South Africa, Ecology, Environmentalism
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Anthropology
ID Code:2578
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:10 Apr 2012 09:11
Last Modified:10 Apr 2012 09:11
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