Exploring resilience capacities through the art of storymaking: the case of food innovators in the Western Cape

Lindow, Megan (2017-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : This project explores the potential of storymaking as a novel methodology for developing insight into the ways in which a small selection of social innovators are working to shape change in the food system of the Western Cape, South Africa, and particularly some of the different capacities they are drawing on that may contribute to resilience. Current literature on the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which human agency is seen as a driving force impacting planetary systems, recognises social-ecological resilience theory as an emerging approach to dealing with unexpected change. This thesis brings a narrative and interpretative lens to the experiences of five social innovators who are working towards social-ecological change in the food system of the Western Cape and are part of the international Seeds of the Good Anthropocene project. The Seeds of the Good Anthropocene research seeks to analyse the potential of selected small-scale social-ecological projects to help accelerate transformations towards positive futures for people and planet. In this project, the stories of food innovators are analysed through a ‘storymaking’ process of in-depth interviews, narrative inquiry and interpretative phenomenological analysis. In this process, a richness of experience and meaning that surfaces in the stories shared by research participants is explored, with the aim of understanding whether interpreting these stories through different resilience frames can help to provide insight into the capacities that contribute towards resilience. This work conceptualises the Western Cape as an ‘Anthropocene space’, with a unique historical and geographical context in which multiple food system crises are reflected, thus creating conditions ripe for transformation. Against this backdrop, the work connects the stories of social innovators in food to social-ecological resilience themes of rootedness, resourcefulness and resistance. It also connects these real-life stories and themes to a more theoretical exploration of the complex relationships between stories, resilience, agency and transformation. What emerges is a picture of social innovators experimenting and connecting with one another, guided by rich and emerging value systems, working along the ‘unruly edges’ and the generative niches in between more formal institutions, practices and ways of thinking, transforming these spaces through their alternative narratives of food, culture and community, and in the process deeply exploring questions of how to reconnect with nature and ourselves, and how to live well in the Anthropocene.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie projek verken die potensiaal van storiemaak as ’n vernuwende metodologie om insig te verkry in hoe ’n klein groep sosiale innoveerders hulle beywer vir verandering in die voedselstelsel van die Wes-Kaap, Suid-Afrika, en ondersoek veral sommige van die vermoëns waaruit hulle put wat moontlik tot veerkragtigheid kan bydra. Huidige literatuur oor die Antroposeen, ’n voorgestelde nuwe geologiese era waarin die menslike wil beskou word as ’n dryfkrag wat die planeetstelsel beïnvloed, erken sosiaal-ekologiese veerkragtigheidsteorie as ’n ontluikende benadering tot die hantering van onvoorsiene verandering. Hierdie werk gebruik ‘n narratiewe en vertolkende lens om die ervarings van vyf sosiale innoveerders te ondersoek wat hulle vir sosiaal-ekologiese verandering in die voedselstelsel van die Wes-Kaap beywer en deel uitmaak van die internasionale projek Seeds of the Good Anthropocene. Navorsing van Seeds of the Good Anthropocene is gerig op die ontleding van die potensiaal van uitgesoekte kleinskaalse sosiaal-ekologiese projekte om transformasie te help versnel om ’n positiewe toekoms vir die mens én die planeet te skep. In hierdie projek word die verhale van voedselinnoveerders deur ‘n ‘storiemaakproses’ van diepteonderhoude, narratiewe ondersoek en vertolkende fenomenologiese analise ontleed. Sodoende word ’n oorvloed ervarings en betekenisse verken wat uit die navorsingsdeelnemers se verhale na vore kom, om te bepaal of die vertolking van hierdie verhale deur verskillende veerkragtigheidsraamwerke insig kan bied in die vermoëns wat tot veerkragtigheid bydra. Hierdie werk konseptualiseer die Wes-Kaap as ’n ‘Antroposeenruimte’ met ’n unieke historiese en geografiese konteks wat etlike voedselstelselkrisisse weerspieël en dus vrugbare teelaarde vir transformasie bied. Teen hierdie agtergrond koppel die werk die sosiale voedselinnoveerders se verhale aan sosiaal-ekologiese veerkragtigheidstemas van verankering, vindingrykheid en verset. Boonop verbind dit hierdie ware verhale en temas met ’n meer teoretiese verkenning van die komplekse verwantskappe tussen verhale, veerkragtigheid, eie wil en transformasie. Hieruit ontstaan ’n prentjie van sosiale innoveerders wat aan die hand van ryke en ontluikende waardestelsels eksperimenteer en met mekaar skakel. Hulle werk op die “ruwe rande” en in die generatiewe nisse tussen meer formele instellings, praktyke en denkwyses om hierdie ruimtes deur alternatiewe narratiewe van voedsel, kultuur en gemeenskap te transformeer. Terselfdertyd ondersoek hulle hoe die mens weer nader aan die natuur kan leef en voorspoedig in die Antroposeen kan bestaan.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102910
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