Edited by David A. McDonald
Environmental Justice in South Africa provides a systematic overview of the first ten years of postapartheid environmental politics. Written by leading activists and academics in the field, this edited collection offers the first critical perspective of environmental justice theory and practice in South Africa. Accessible and wide-ranging in its coverage, the book offers a benchmark analysis of the environmental justice movement today as well as an assessment of where it may be headed in the future.
Beginning with a history of the environmental justice movement in the country, the book explores a range of conceptual and practical questions: How does environmental justice relate to issues of marginalization and poverty in South Africa? What are the links between environmental justice and other schools of environmental thought? Is the legal system an appropriate tool for addressing environmental equity? How do race, class, and gender intersect in the South African environmental context?
The second half of the book is a more concrete exploration of environmental (in)justice in the country. These chapters are interspersed with real-life stories of struggles by workers and communities for environmental change. The book is an invaluable resource for South African and international audiences interested in the growing, and increasingly global, environmental justice movement.
David A. McDonald teaches political studies and geography at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he is co-director of the Municipal Services Project, a multi-partner research program examining the impact of policy reforms on the delivery of basic municipal services to the urban and rural poor in southern Africa. More info →
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In June 1976 political demonstrations in the black township of Soweto exploded into an insurrection that would continue sporadically and spread to urban areas across South Africa. In their assault on apartheid the youths who spearheaded the rebellion attacked and often destroyed the state institutions that they linked to their oppression: police stations, government offices, schools, and state-owned liquor outlets.
Environmental history in southern Africa has only recently come into its own as a distinct field of historical inquiry. While natural resources lie at the heart of all environmental history, the field opens the door to a wide range of inquiries, several of which are pioneered in this collection. South Africa's Environmental History offers a series of local and particular studies followed by more general commentary and comparative studies.
Land is a significant and controversial topic in South Africa. Addressing the land claims of those dispossessed in the past has proved to be a demanding, multidimensional process. In many respects the land restitution program that was launched as part of the county’s transition to democracy in 1994 has failed to meet expectations, with ordinary citizens, policymakers, and analysts questioning not only its progress but also its outcomes and parameters.
Land tenure rights are a burning issue in South Africa, as in Africa more widely. Land, Power, and Custom explores the implications of the controversial 2004 Communal Land Rights Act, criticized for reinforcing the apartheid power structure and ignoring the interests of the common people.