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University of Oslo (2005)

Indigenous or citizen ? : discourses of indigenousness, nationhood and development in the conflict over relocation of the San / Basarwa from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Haram, Åse

Titre : Indigenous or citizen ? : discourses of indigenousness, nationhood and development in the conflict over relocation of the San / Basarwa from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Auteur : Haram, Åse

Université de soutenance : University of Oslo

Grade : Master thesis 2005

Résumé
The theme of this is indigenous advocacy and the potential of the indigenous rights concept to challenge the homogenising citizenship of the post-colonial developmental state for the benefit of Botswana San / Basarwa hunter-gatherer minority. I base the analysis on the current conflict between members of the San / Basarwa minority and the Botswana government, over the policy to relocate the residents of Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) to government resettlements outside the reserve. From the perspective of the Botswana government, the relocation is about the San / Basarwa’s right to move to government resettlements where they can access services and become developed, integrated citizens. However, this perspective is challenged by the intervention of what I call the anti-relocation movement, comprising Survival International and a local NGO coalition (the Negotiating Team), which sees the relocation policy as contrary to the interests of the San / Basarwa as culturally different hunter-gatherers, and indicative of a citizenship that serves to silence rather than encourage the participation of San / Basarwa in Botswana society. I start by presenting an analysis of the state discourses of nation-building and development, and show how they work to eliminate the ethnicity and territoriality of hunter-gatherers. Next I consider how the indigenous rights concept as a global discourse is adapted, contested and appropriated to the southern African context through the representations of governments, publics, academics and the indigenous movement. I then show how the anti-relocation movement employs the opportunities presented by the international indigenous rights discourses as well as regional and domestic debates over development, democracy and citizenship in their contestation of the relocation. I finally identify three subject positions that emerge from the CKGR relocation debate and consider to what extent each of these enables the San / Basarwa to particpate and self-represent as indigenous and / or citizens, and on the basis of this make recommendations for future indigenous advocacy in the context of post-colonial societies.

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