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n Historia - Exploring panarchy and social-ecological resilience : towards understanding water history in precolonial southern Africa

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Abstract

There is a growing corpus of social-ecological thinking in the field of resilience studies. One example is the pioneering work of Gunderson and Holling (2002) on panarchy. The work has had a significant impact on disciplinary collaboration between the natural and human sciences. It appears that the discipline of History can benefit particularly from these interactions - particularly within the framework of panarchy theory. In the front loop of panarchy, Gunderson and Holling have safely ensconced a "memory" feeder, a progressive trend leading towards the conservation and responsible exploitation of natural resources. In the panarchy model this phase is especially evident before the onset of almost inevitable creative destruction/collapse that paves the way for renewal in the back loop. The understanding of "memory" in the panarchy cycle focuses on institutional memory, traditional knowledge and memorialised experience of resource management. Special attention is given to "memory" in that it creates opportunities for historical thinking. By introducing a discourse on historical consciousness, the concept of memory moves more in line with formal historical thinking. The meaning of "creative destruction"/collapse is therefore categorised in terms of Rüsen's (2013) conception of sense-making of the crisis phenomenon. Interpretive historical thought can then find space in panarchy theory. At the same time the use of memory, from an ecological and social perspective could create a better understanding of indigenous and/or local knowledge systems related to the past. In the final section there is a brief discussion on the Iron Age in southern Africa (from about 200 to 1850CE), focusing specifically on the proto-urban development of Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe. The exposition is consciously opaque. The objective is to encourage the reader to think about the interpretation of water history in precolonial southern Africa.

Tans is daar 'n groeiende korpus van werk op die terrein sosiaal-ekologiese veerkragtigheidstudies. Een voorbeeld is die baanbrekerswerk van Gunderson en Holling (2002) oor panargie. Die werk het 'n betekenisvolle invloed op samewerking tussen die natuur- en geesteswetenskappe uitgeoefen. Dit wil voorkom asof die dissipline van geskiedenis by dié interaksies kan baat vind - veral binne die raamwerk van panargieteorie. In die voorstevoeder van die panargie-siklus het Gunderson en Holling die konsep van "herinnering" ingevoer wat 'n progressiewe en bewegende tendens voorwaarts inlei. Dan volg 'n fase of vlak van bewaring en die verantwoordelike eksploitering van die natuurlike hulpbronne. In die panargiemodel is die fase duidelik tot op 'n punt waar daar 'n onafwendbare proses van kreatiewe destruksie/ineenstorting plaasvind. Daarna word die weg voorberei vir hernuwing in die agterste kurwe van die panargieproses. Die verstaan van "herinnering" hou verband met institusionele herinnering, tradisionele kennis en prysenswaardige herinneringe aan hulpbronbewaring. In die artikel word o.m. aandag gegee aan herinnering wat die geleentheid skep vir die ontwikkeling van historiese denke. Deur 'n diskoers oor historiese bewussyn in te voer word herinnering deel van formele historiese denke. Die betekenis van "kreatiewe destruksie"/ineenstorting word derhalwe gekategoriseer in terme van Rüsen se voorstelling van singewing aan die krisisverskynsel. Interpretatiewe geskiedenisdenke kan derhalwe met gemak in panargieteorie staanplek kry. Terselfdertyd word die gebruik van herinnering, vanuit 'n sosiaal-ekologiese perspektief, gebruik om inheemse en/of plaaslike kennisstelsels, in verhouding tot die verlede, beter te verstaan. In die finale afdeling word kortliks aandag gegee aan die Ystertydperk in die geskiedenis van suider-Afrika (sowat 200-1850 jaar voor die hede) wat spesifiek op watergeskiedenis en proto-stedelike ontwikkeling in die nedersettings van Mapungubwe en Groot Zimbabwe fokus. Die uiteensetting is noodwendig vaag en slegs in breë lyne aangestip. Die doelwit is om die leser se denke te stimuleer in die interpretasie van watergeskiedenis in pre-koloniale suider-Afrika.

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/content/hist/61/1/EJC190263
2016-05-01
2016-12-04
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