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The edge of the periphery: situating the ≠Khomani San of the Southern Kalahari in the political economy of Southern AfricaIn this article, we situate the Southern Kalahari San within the political economy of Southern Africa and within the world system. Here we draw on and critique modernization theory as a model of explanation for the lack of development found locally. In the Southern Kalahari, the ≠Khomani San won a massive land claim that should have empowered and enabled local development. Yet they remain largely impoverished, while seeking out a meaningful life on the edge of the capitalist world system. Within states, contradictions remain as local diversity continues to be reproduced and modernity itself is reproduced as local diversity. The research is premised on empirical fieldwork conducted in the Southern Kalahari in 2013 and supported by a series of earlier field research over the previous five years. The San of the Southern Kalahari are not resisting modernity but drawing on aspects of it selectively for their own vision of meaningful development.
Representation and Misrepresentation: San regional advocacy and the Global imageryThe San of southern Africa are one of the most represented peoples of southern Africa. Internationally, they are most often depicted as a hunting-gathering people or as a people recently removed from that way of life. Organisations such as Survival International draw on these images for political advocacy and in campaigns for land rights for indigenous peoples. In southern Africa, San organisations fight for similar rights and, despite their membership being comprised of San people, the images and ideas of San-ness are dominated by the global imagery. The images and ideas of the San draw on racialised caricatures and colonial imagery that freeze San imagery into a mythologised past. We argue that this is a limiting factor in political advocacy that constrains the types of responses possible for aboriginal rights in Africa.