Author:       Guyot, Sylvain, or
Title:        "Disputed Environments: The Territorialization of Environmental
              Conflicts Along the Kwazulu-Natal Coast (South Africa: Kosi Bay,
              St. Lucia, Richards Bay and Port Shepstone)"

Date:         2003
Institution:  University of Paris 10 - Lab Geotropiques
Degree:       Ph.D., Geography


Environmental conflicts are both a methodological and conceptual tool to study stakeholders and territories. They reveal problematic realities encompassing more than the strict environmental field, analysed across the double prism of legacies (colonisation and apartheid) and processes of post-apartheid democratisation. Stakeholders attitudes to the environment often conceal other motivations. The cases of Port Shepstone and Richards Bay, two industrial small towns, clarify land-use conflicts between the territory of industrial entrepreneurs and of the municipality, and places of living and recreation of neighbouring communities defended by some - occasionally radical - environmentalists. The cases of Kosi Bay and St Lucia put in perspective the competition between the territories of a national park (Greater St Lucia Wetland Park), recognised as a World Heritage Site, different municipalities, Tribal Authorities, and various groups of residents, Whites or Blacks, having contrasting strategies of living or surviving. As a methodological tool, environmental conflicts enhance stakeholders typologies in relationship to both environment and territory. As a conceptual tool, they shed a different light on principles of governance, decentralisation and sustainable development through studies of political games, rivalries between local and national levels, influence of networks, community participation and socio-economic dynamics of profit versus solidarity.

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First Online Edition: 3 May 2004
Last Revised: 3 May 2004

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