Community-based environmentalism in transitional South Africa: social movements and the development of local democracy
This report explores co llect+ve ect+on around opposition to a propo..;ed hazardous waste 1andf t 11. Of concern ;s the role that social movement organisations and social movement activists, organising around environmental issues, can play in entrenching a participatory, non-racial democracy in South Africa's present transitional political phase. The analysis makes use of theories of social movements which argue that collective action is rooted in previous cycles of mobilisation, and that the role of social movement entreprenbJrS or activists is crucial in coll,ctive action mob'l Hsat ton. Data was collected through the use of participant observation and semi-structured interviews, Various documentary sources were also used. This report argues that mobilisation around environmental issues can best be understood by locating such mobilisation in the heritage of previous cycles of mobilisation, most notably in the period of the 19805. Furthermore, this report highlights the fact that the structure and form of ~he transitional state at national, regional and local levels presents certain constraints with regard to the extension and entrenchment of participatory democracy, Finally, it will be argued that while the Chloorkop Coalition demonstrates the pctent ial that environmental issues have for uniting communities across traditional racial and ideological barriers, it ;s not clear whether a lasting cross~racial cooperation can be achieved.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master of Arts. Johannesburg 1995.
Buchler, Michelle (1995) Community-based environmentalism in transitional South Africa: social movements and the development of local democracy, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/21778>