Environmental concern, race and socio-economic status in post-apartheid South Africa, 1996-2006

Beckett, Sean Edward (2013-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines longitudinally the nature of environmental concern in post-apartheid South Africa. During the years of colonialism and apartheid, environmental policy making and implementation was characterised by environmental racism that focused on ecocentric notions of nature conservation and protection, to the exclusion of black, coloured and Asian South Africans. The post-apartheid government has attempted to rectify the exclusion of black people from environmental rights, by enshrining in the Bill of Rights the right to an environment that is not harmful to South Africans' health or well-being. In light of the Bill of Rights unique political and practical implementation in South Africa, and on the basis of a comprehensive review of the empirical and theoretical literature on environmental concern, two hypotheses were formulated for testing in this thesis. The first, which is informed by an environmentalism of the poor or “empty-belly environmentalism” theory, proposes that South Africans have become more environmentally concerned since the end of apartheid. The second hypothesis is informed by the post-materialist thesis, and examines whether controlling for socio-economic status eliminates difference in environmental concern amongst the various race groups. The research design applied in this thesis is a longitudinal analysis of secondary data, in particular World Values Survey data. The results of this analysis led to a rejection of the first hypotheses, and a partial rejection of the second hypothesis. Additionally, the results reveal that since 1996 environmental concern has become less influenced by race and class. The thesis also contributes methodologically to future research on environmental concern, by raising concerns about the operationalisation and conceptualisation of environmental concern in the World Values Survey.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die aard van omgewingsbesorgdheid in post-apartheid Suid-Afrika. Gedurende die jare van kolonialisme en apartheid was beleidmaking en -implementering gekenmerk deur omgewingsrassisme wat op ekosentriese opvattings van natuurbewaring en -beskerming gefokus het. Dit het tot die uitsluiting van swart, bruin en Asiatiese Suid-Afrikaners gelei. Die post-apartheid regering het gepoog om hierdie groot ongelykhede reg te stel, deur die reg tot 'n omgewing wat nie skadelik vir hul gesondheid of welsyn is nie, vas te lê in die Handves van Menseregte. In die lig van hierdie omgewingsbeleidspunte se unieke politieke en praktiese implementering in Suid-Afrika, en op grond van 'n omvattende oorsig van die empiriese en teoretiese literatuur oor omgewingsbesordheid, is twee hipoteses in hierdie tesis getoets. Die eerste hipotese, waaraan 'n omgewingsbewustheid van die armes of "leë maag omgewingsbewustheid"-teorie gestalte verleen het, voer aan dat Suid-Afrikaners sedert die einde van apartheid meer omgewingsbesorgd geword het. Die tweede hipotese, wat voortvloei uit die post-materialistiese tesis, ondersoek of die verskil tussen die rasgroepe in terme van omgewingsbesorgheid verdwyn as hulle sosio-ekonomiese status konstant gehou word. Die navorsingsontwerp van hierdie tesis is 'n longitudinale ontleding van sekondêre data. Die resultate van hierdie analise onthul dat omgewingsbesorgdheid sedert 1996 minder volgens ras en klas gestruktureer word; buitendien is die eerste hipotese verwerp en die tweede hipotese gedeeltelik verwerp. Hierdie resultate het kommer oor die operasionalisering en konseptualisering van omgewingsbesorgdheid in die “World Values Survey” gewek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85672
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