Developing an understanding of agricultural sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa through African relational envirnmentalism

Steyn, Adele (2019-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The objection to anthropocentrism as a worldview is not new to environmental ethics. Many philosophers argue that anthropocentrism is the root cause of humanity’s destructive attitude towards the non-human environment. While many Western environmental philosophers have sought for an alternative to anthropocentrism in other traditions, religions and cultures, African thought has largely been overlooked due to the widely held assumption that it is inherently anthropocentric. This study seeks to interrogate this assumption by exploring Kevin Behrens’ non-anthropocentric African Relational Environmentalism as one alternative to anthropocentrism. In particular, this study explores whether or not African Relational Environmentalism, could serve as a useful theoretical perspective in developing an understanding of the notion of sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, taking into consideration the needs of both current and future generations as well as the non-human environment. To facilitate this examination, this study considers food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and attempts to illustrate the need to adopt a model of sustainable agricultural intensification practices as a means to address food insecurity in the region. This inquiry is explored within two distinct frameworks. Firstly, this study evaluates four Western non-anthropocentric worldviews and considers their problematic dualisms and limitations, which limits the likelihood of serving as the theoretical framework to inform a model of sustainable agriculture which drives an inclusive agenda. Secondly, this study unpacks African Relational Environmentalism and concludes that it implicitly offers a model of sustainability as an “integrated agenda of caring for the community of life on earth” (Hattingh 2002:5) which considers the needs of current and future generations, as well as the non-human environment. As a result, African Relational Environmentalism is proposed to have the potential to serve as a theoretical framework to inform an African model of sustainable agriculture that could subsequently be applied to overhaul many of the existing policies, institutions and systems impacting the agricultural sector, as a means to address food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Omgewingsfilosowe maak al vir ‘n geruime tyd beswaar teen antroposentriese wêreldbeskouings, en voer aan dat antroposentrisme die oorsaak agter die mens se vernietigende gesindheid teenoor die natuurlike omgewing is. Terwyl menige Westerse omgewingsfilosowe na uitheemse tradisies, godsdiens en kultuur gedraai het in hul soektog na ‘n antroposentriese alternatief, is Afrika-denke grotendeels oorgeslaan weens ‘n wydverspreide aanname dat dit inherent antroposentries van aard is. Hierdie studie beoog om bogenoemde aanname te herdink en verwys spesifiek na Kevin Behrens se nie-antroposentriese Afrika-relasionele Omgewingsbeskouing as ‘n toepaslike alternatief vir antroposentrisme. Gevolglik, kan Afrika-relasionele Omgewingsbewustheid as ‘n teoretiese perspektief dien vanwaar ‘n volhoubaarheidsmodel, met spesifieke verwysing na die landbousektor, ontwikkel word wat die behoeftes van die huidige en toekomstige generasies, asook die natuurlike omgewing in ag neem. Hierdie ondersoek word binne die konteks van sub-Sahara Afrika en die streek se voedselonsekerheid geloods. Eestens word vier Westerse nie- antroposentriese waarde-teorieë oorweeg met die oog op hul geskiktheid om as teoretiese perspektief te dien vanwaar ‘n volhoubaarheidsmodel ontwikkel kan word. Tweedens word Afrika-relasionele Omgewingsbewustheid ontleed en posisioneer as ‘n waarde-teorie wat implisiet ‘n volhoubaarheidsmodel as ‘n “integrated agenda of caring for the community of life on earth” (Hattingh, 2002:5) bied en gevolglik die behoeftes van huidige en toekomstige generasies, asook die natuurlike omgewing in ag neem. Ten slotte word Afrika-relasionele Omgewingsbewustheid aanbeveel as die teoretiese perspektief vanwaar ‘n model van volhoubaarheid binne die landbousektor ontwikkel kan word wat die behoeftes van die huidige en toekomstige generasies, asook die natuurlike omgewing in ag neem. Hierdie volhoubaarheidsmodel kan toegepas word om menige bestaande beleide, sisteme en instellings te herdink in ‘n poging om voedselonsekerheid in sub-Sahara Afrika aan te spreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107046
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