Muted mutji. On secularized self-censorship, virtual environmentalism and spiritual ecologies in Kavango, Namibia
AbstractNamibia has an environmental and economic problem with anthropogenic overuse of natural resources. The paradigms of development and conservation, exemplified through the catch-term CBNRM, dominate public discourses on how to influence individual and collective behavior towards sustainability. However, cosmological drivers of action, e.g. witchcraft, are widely missing from these discourses. Based on empirical evidence of the prevalence of cosmologically influenced action in Kavango, as well as of potentially detrimental outcomes for natural resources and social capital I discuss in this paper the possibility that a crucial link between spirituality and environmentality is being muted. Models of environmental protection and development are based on prevalent eurocentric ontologies and differing presumptions about the factuality of cosmological convictions. Paradigms of secularity and modernity support self-censorship on epistemological aspects of environmental relations in public debate. As long as this self-censorship continues a mutual understanding between the different stakeholders and successful sustainable resource management will be restricted.
It is a condition of publication that authors vest the copyright of their reviews and articles, including abstracts, in the publisher of JNS, Otjivanda Presse. This enables us to ensure full copyright protection and the dissemination of the article and the journal to the widest possible readership. Authors may use the article elsewhere after publication as long as reference to its publication in JNS is provided. Authors are themselves responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyright material from other sources.