In continuing my research and exploration of my chosen situated contexts, to help focus and also ground my investigation I have created a preliminary Actor Network Theory map. The ANT Map aims to illustrate key actors and processes within my body of work and also my situated context(s). This ANT Map also serves as my first attempt and draft as I move forward in producing written outcomes before I embark on conducting on-site research and interviews.
The actors I identified can be broken down into the following groups. Some of them can also be considered as not being limited to one group:
- Tourists (international and local)
- Makuleke tribe
- Fauna (specifically The Big 5)
- Humans (Tourists and Makuleke tribe)
- Non-living (institutions and corporate bodies):
- Apartheid and colonial governments
- Land Ownership policies
Other entities and aspects that were included in my ANT map include the process that connect the actors to each other such as actions and consequences of the actions. And as well as what can be considered as being what I will “for now” call “less significantly impacted actors”. The latter are actors that only act in the grand scheme of the implementation of conservation policies and must be mentioned and considered.
This ANT Map mostly relates to my situated context of Kruger National Park, but can also be loosely applied to that of my comparative study of the Masai Mara. In moving forward the intersections of the two areas will need to be considered such as the impacts each of the conservation approaches used in either case may affect the other.
The issue that is at the heart of this ANT Map is that of my framing question: Is conservation beneficial? And so, many of the actors and processes focus and highlight the stakeholders in conservation by showing their processes and implicitly or explicitly illustrating the extent to which the practice of conservation is beneficial and for whom.
In considering each of these actors current policy and history are the main two branches. Historically, Kruger National Park was an area of settlement notable by the Makuleke tribe. Under British colonialism this area was demarcated for hunting game such as springbok. When South Africa formally gained independence from the British and was under white minority rule of the apartheid government, this area then became a game park used for recreational and hunting purposes. Thus the Makuleke tribe became displaced.
As conservation biology became popular the park became formally established as a conservation area that focuses on the charismatic megafauna known as ‘The Big 5’, but also other fauna and flora. The park attracts both local and international tourists and has many game lodges (one of which belongs to the Makuleke tribe). The park also garners revenue to the tourism sector of the economy, therefore boosting economic growth, with that money being used for infrastructural and community development.
In moving forward I will consider how to illustrate the intersections between the key actors and processes in Kruger and the Masai Mara, focus on key actors and processes but also consider those that can be considered secondary and further expand on ways in which the actors and processes are connected.