The Contested Floodplain

The Contested Floodplain : Institutional Change of the Commons in the Kafue Flats, Zambia

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The Contested Floodplain explains how institutional change in the African floodplain wetlands of Zambia (Kafue Flats) caused the area's resource management to fail. This work combines New Institutionalism approaches (predicated on notions of power and ideology) with political ecology and findings from local ecological studies, extending its appeal to scholars in African and environmental studies. It includes an in-depth social anthropological analysis of agro-pastoral and fishermen communities and also a foreword by Dr. Elizabeth Colson.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 576 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 40.64mm | 1,043.26g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739169564
  • 9780739169568

Table of contents

Foreword: by Elizabeth Colson, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
Chapter 1: Introduction: the role of institutions in the management of common pool resources
Chapter 2: The Kafue Flats Ecosystem: A rich floodplain in a semi-arid environment
Chapter 3: A "fierce" people. Ethnography of the Ila, Balundwe and Batwa
Chapter 4: From Lozi raids to ineffective state control: the political economy of Southern Province and Zambia
Chapter 5: Transformations in a pastoral commons: Institutional change of cattle and pasture management
Chapter 6: We will throw the Lozi into the water" Institutional change and conflict in the fisheries
Chapter 7: From hunting to poaching: Wildlife management from Common Property to de facto open access
Chapter 8: Irrigation for the poor - cattle for the rich? Contesting the institutional design
of the floodplain
Conclusions: Institutional change, bargaining power and conflicts
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Review quote

Environmental management in Africa suffers from a dearth of deep scholarly study. Fusing Elinor Ostrom's institutional analysis, Fikret Berkes's "traditional ecological knowledge," and Jean Ensminger's theories in economic anthropology, Haller (anthropology, Univ. of Berne, Switzerland) seeks to explain why common pool resources in central Zambia are under threat of overuse and mismanagement. He presents lengthy introductions on the ecology, the people, and the history of the area before moving into the heart of his analysis. This is important, as his analysis portrays a complex web of power structures, authority figures, and ideology. Without the first several chapters, the reader would be easily lost. Fortunately, Haller's mixed qualitative and quantitative approach to moving through various levels of power successfully shows how a changing economy, legal regimes, and the environment itself threaten local management strategies. The book is written at an advanced level. Haller covers an important topic and presents a strong case study. Summing Up: Recommended. * CHOICE * Haller's extensive examination of this particular floodplain in Central Africa offers a much needed longitudinal understanding of the history of social, environmental, and institutional change leading up to the current problems of sustainable common pool resource use. . . .Taken together, Haller's ethnography, framed with current theoretical discussion, results in a robust and important monograph in political-ecology, of which ecological and economic anthropologists, Africanists, environmental scientists, and historians should take note. . . .The ethnographic data and detail in this volume are profound, and they stand equally alongside other classics in anthropology. . . .The theoretical framework advances our understanding of institutional change, illustrated so well through this case study, and consequently stands as an example of well-integrated theory and grounded ethnography. . . .The Contested Floodplain stands as a solid scientific endeavor. * Current Anthropology * The Contested Floodplain is the most detailed analysis to date of the impact of external institutional changes on the population and environment of an African floodplain. Starting with analysis of the cultural and socio-economic systems of pre-colonial herders, fishers, and farmers living on Zambia's Kafue Flats, Tobias Haller explains institutional impacts associated with British and Zambian governance that converted previously viable systems of limited access commons into a degraded open access system. -- Thayer Scudder, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, California Institute Of Technology
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About Tobias Haller

Tobias Haller, Ph.D in Social Anthropology University of Zurich, Switzerland (2001) is now Associate Professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland and lecturer at the ETH Zurich. He did fieldwork in Cameroon and Zambia and has specialized in economic and ecological anthropology (common pool resource management, New Institutionalism and local perception of environment, peasants and agro-pastoralist, fishermen, oil exploitation, protected areas, and community based natural resource management). He teaches courses in economic, political, and ecological anthropology on topics such as sustainable use of natural resources, environmental perception, conservation and protected areas, land tenure issues, and anthropology of mining. He has published People, Protected Areas and Global Change (NCCR Bern, 2008) and Fossil Resources, Oil Companies and Indigenous Peoples (Lit) as well as in journals such as Human Ecology, Environment and Development, Development Southern Africa, Food Policy, Human Organisation, Journal of International Development.
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