Moving forward in beginning my research for my comparative study in conservation, I have constructed the following research question and methodology to explore my exploration:
In what ways have the Makuleke tribe in Kruger National Park and the Maasai in the Maasai Mara benefited from their conservation approaches?
In order to explore the framing question and answer the focus question the following methodology will be undertaken to collect data from the various stakeholders and assess the costs and benefits to the primary ones being the Makuleke tribe and the Maasai.
(Kruger and Maasai Mara) Historical and contemporary overview: A background of the parks, their origins and formation will be invoked in order to establish its context and how it was constructed. This will be done mainly through collecting articles and relevant books and also visiting Kruger and its museum and library and collecting various documents. This will be important in order to situate the Makuleke tribe and Maasai also the other stakeholders in the park. It will also serve as a way to track these stakeholders and how their shares have changed over the years as a result of national and regional policies. This may also give background to the wider analysis of the project and help contextualise the issues that may be brought up.
Interviews with various stakeholders: Using ethnographic research methods, management of the park, members of the Makuleke tribe, a worker from the South African National Park Service, (maybe: an international and local touris)t and a conservation biologist may be interviewed. This will be done in order to gather information on their perceived benefits and costs of Kruger National Park from the perspectives of key stakeholders. It will contribute to the background gathered of the park and also directly illustrate the perception of members of the Makuleke tribe and the ways in which they perceive how they have benefited from land expropriation. Their thoughts on the park and conservation will also be explored through these interviews. As well as those of other stakeholders in the park. A conservation biologist and member of the Maasai will also be contacted, as well as using other forms of qualitative data to gather the same information to various extents on the Maasai Mara and the Maasai people as this context is not as accessible to me.
Economic analysis: An economic analysis of the impacts of the land expropriation on the park and the Makuleke tribe will be carried out using indices and other demographic data. This will be communicated using tables and graphs. This will be the qualitative component that will be compared to the perspectives of members of the tribe and the other stakeholders in the park.
The methods aim to assess the ways in which the Makuleke tribes have benefited from the expropriation of land using both quantitative and qualitative evidence with the incorporation of the reality of the background and context of the park. Furthermore, it aims to identify the specific ways in which these benefits have manifested (social, economic, cultural, political etc…) And also shed light on the assumption that they have, indeed, benefited from this expropriation by choosing to have the area remain as being protected as opposed to resettling it. This will also shed light on the various ways in which indigenous people can participate in conservation and help expand its notions.
As I continue, I will be refining the methods, and trying to keep them consistent for both contexts in order to do a whole and just comparison.