Rough Waters

Rough Waters: Nature and Development in an East African Marine Park

Christine J. Walley
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7rgh6
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  • Book Info
    Rough Waters
    Book Description:

    Rough Watersexplores one of the most crucial problems of the contemporary era--struggles over access to, and use of, the environment. It combines insights from anthropology, history, and environmental studies, mounting an interdisciplinary challenge to contemporary accounts of "globalization." The book focuses on The Mafia Island Marine Park, a national park in Tanzania that became the center of political conflict during its creation in the mid-1990s. The park, reflecting a new generation of internationally sponsored projects, was designed to encourage environmental conservation as well as development. Rather than excluding residents, as had been common in East Africa's mainland wildlife parks, Mafia Island was intended to represent a new type of national park that would encourage the participation of area residents and incorporate their ideas.

    While the park had been described in the project's general management plan as "for the people and by the people," residents remained excluded from the most basic decisions made about the park. The book details the day-to-day tensions and alliances that arose among Mafia residents, Tanzanian government officials, and representatives of international organizations, as each group attempted to control and define the park. Walley's analysis argues that a technocentric approach to conservation and development can work to the detriment of both poorer people and the environment. It further suggests that the concept of the global may be inadequate for understanding this and other social dramas in the contemporary world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3575-1
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Glossary of Kiswahili Terms
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. [Maps]
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Preface
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. INTRODUCTION Conservation and Development in the Age of the “Global”
    (pp. 1-28)

    Off the eastern coast of Africa, a series of islands form a chain, beginning just below the continent’s protruding horn and ending in the region now known as Mozambique. These islands, from Pate and Lamu in the north to Kilwa in the south, together with adjacent coastal settlements, have historically formed the “Swahili” coast.¹ At a time when Europe was experiencing what is sometimes known as the Dark Ages, this region formed part of a dynamic Indian Ocean trading world, serving as a gateway between the peoples of Africa and the regions to the east.² Following the seasonal monsoon winds,...

  9. Part One
    • CHAPTER ONE Battling for the Marine Park
      (pp. 31-66)

      The “social drama” of Tanzania’s Mafia Island Marine Park forms the core of this analysis. Between 1994 and 1997, island residents, national government officials, and representatives of international organizations struggled to define and control the fledgling marine park, a drama that points to the central issues that will be explored in subsequent chapters. In order to understand these events, it is necessary to locate this drama within the broader international transformations which were occurring during the 1990s. Such transformations included: a post–Cold War reworking of geopolitical alignments, a resurgence of belief in the free market, demands by multilateral institutions...

  10. Part Two
    • CHAPTER TWO “When People Were as Worthless as Insects”: History, Popular Memory, and Tourism on Chole
      (pp. 69-104)

      The most noticeable feature of Chole’s landscape, as viewed from the shore in Utende across Chole Bay, is a prominent two-story stone structure on the tiny island’s waterfront that juts out from a green leafy background of palm and mango trees. Chole’s residents refer to this ruin as “the Boma” stating that it was built, along with the other abandoned stone buildings on the island, by Arabs during the reign of “Abu Saidi,” a reference to the nineteenth-century Omani dynasty which, from its base in Zanzibar, had once dominated the East African coast.¹ By the century’s end, German colonialists had...

    • CHAPTER THREE The Making and Unmaking of “Community”
      (pp. 105-137)

      Throughout my stay on Chole during the mid-1990s, I savored two pleasures each morning. The first was being awakened, not rudely by an alarm clock as at home in New York City, but by the sun making its first tentative appearances through my tent windows and by birds riotously singing from surrounding orange trees. The second was “hiding” in my tent, even as the camp and nearby homes were already bustling with activity, and enjoying the early morning BBC world news reports in English on my short-wave radio. For myself, as well as for those people on Chole who could...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Where There Is No Nature
      (pp. 138-166)

      Contemporary ideas of participatory conservation and sustainable development found among international organizations are based upon particular assumptions about the relationship between rural residents in poor regions, such as Mafia, and the environments in which they live. Historically, there has long been a tendency to portray rural residents of the so-called Third World as degraders of the environment who are in need of regulation, a tendency built upon colonial-era assumptions (see chapter 5). In more recent years, however, a counter viewpoint with an equally lengthy genealogy in European romantic traditions has gained greater ascendency. This viewpoint focuses attention on what are...

  11. Part Three
    • CHAPTER FIVE Establishing Experts: Conservation and Development from Colonialism to Independence
      (pp. 169-189)

      In an effort to provide the context necessary to understand the social drama of the Mafia Island Marine Park from the point of view of island residents, previous chapters have discussed the historical narratives told by Chole residents, considered sources of “community” ties as well as social discord, and examined residents’ ideas and practices regarding “nature” and natural resources. It is also necessary however, to explore in greater depth the relationship between island residents and the marine park itself. In essence, the marine park is a bureaucratic entity that has been built upon—and is understood in terms of—a...

    • CHAPTER SIX Pushing Paper and Power: Bureaucracy and Knowledge within a National Marine Park
      (pp. 190-216)

      This book has centered around the struggles over the Mafia Island Marine Park, but what sort of entity, exactly, is a national park? In some ways it is easy to conceive of the marine park as an object despite the fact that its boundaries, invisible across Mafia’s land and waterscapes, exist most firmly on the paper maps of policymakers. In contrast to something as seemingly amorphous as ecological or social dynamics (which alternately might have been viewed as the focus of this international project), the apparent “thingness” of a park has particular social implications. For example, for tour operators, a...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Tourist Encounters: Alternative Readings of Nature and “Development”
      (pp. 217-243)

      The Mafia Island Marine Park differs from previous national parks in Tanzania in that it promises more than the preservation of nature. In addition to pledging participation for residents living within the park, it also explicitly seeks to encourage development. This development, however, is of a particular kind. In an effort to foster “sustainability” rather than the environmental destructiveness associated with many mainstream development initiatives, planners for the Mafia Island Marine Park and similar projects worldwide have attempted to foster tourism or, in some cases, environmentally friendly forms of “ecotourism.” Although tourism on Mafia remained at relatively low levels during...

  12. EPILOGUE Participating in the Twenty-first Century
    (pp. 244-264)

    The social drama of the Mafia Island Marine Park, a description of which began this book, offers some important insights into how we might think—or perhaps should not think—about the contemporary world. In what is depicted as a “globalizing” era, it points to the importance of looking at the socially grounded pathways through which contemporary interactions and power relationships occur. This internationally sponsored marine park, which holds numerous parallels with projects in other parts of the world, was designed to mix conservation and development in a “new” way. Yet throughout this social drama we have seen the centrality...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 265-280)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 281-298)
  15. Index
    (pp. 299-308)