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Title: Naming the land : identity, authority and environment in Namibia's West Caprivi
Author: Taylor, Julie Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0001 3509 3022
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis comprises a history of identity-building and of contestations for authority over land and natural resources in Namibia's West Caprivi. It focuses on the period since Namibia's Independence in 1990 but roots the study in the colonial period. The politics of authority in this area have been significantly shaped by state and NGO interventions into local institutions and land use since the 1930s. The thesis argues that the rise of environmental discourses and Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) in Namibia, combined with the post-Independence politics of ethnically-based 'traditional authority', has provided a crucible within which many Khwe San people, notably leaders and those exposed to NGOs, have reworked and mobilised an ethnic identity. They have also used history to rework the inter-ethnic relationships of the past, particularly through narratives of past grievance and injustice. In doing so, these Khwe people have pursued their own interests in local struggles over authority, in which they perceive themselves to be a distinct, marginalised group that has repeatedly had the losing hand - socially, politically and economically - since Namibia's Independence. The thesis pays close attention to the role of NGOs in these processes. It argues that, in their relationship with West Caprivi's residents, NGOs unintentionally contributed towards the hardening and politicising of ethnic difference, including through the implementation of land mapping projects. At the same time, in their relationship with the state, NGOs often worked to 'depoliticise' the struggles over authority that CBNRM directly and indirectly fostered. In their efforts to make CBNRM acceptable to the state, NGO actors inadvertently reinforced the state's authority in a borderland area that has long been the object of the state's interventionist, if uneven, attempts at control. Throughout these processes, Khwe engagements with powerful outsiders have informed contestations for authority both among themselves and along ethnic lines.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Oxford University, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available