Title: Legitimising transboundary conservation-development initiatives: a discourse analysis of policy-decision making and its implications for rural community participation

Authors: Chengeto Chaderopa

Addresses: School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Bunting Road Campus, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 524, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract: The aim of this study is to enrich analyses and appreciation of the role of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) and Transfrontier Parks (TPs) in Southern Africa regarding their potency to adequately address conservation-development goals. The study takes a discourse analytical perspective of political articulations supporting the introduction of TFCAs as recorded on official websites of various southern Africa governments, Peace Parks Foundation (PPF), and other official documents. Discourse analysis shows how language can be deployed to legitimise action as well shape the parameters of debating conservation-development policy interventions. Discourse analysis therefore presents opportunities to interpret conservation-development policy in a theoretically informed and insightful way. The study argues that the limitations of the TFCAs regarding the facilitation of meaningful participation of rural transborder communities in mainstream TFCAs socio-economic activities are in fact observable within the politicians' TFCAs policy articulations. This approach therefore enriches understanding of the rift between policy articulations and actual practice of TFCAs. The study observes that although the policymakers' legitimation discourse constructs TFCAs as a win-win concept, it still fails to hide their disenfranchising side.

Keywords: community participation; power; discourse; argumentation; transfrontier conservation areas; TFCAs; transfrontier parks; neo-liberalism; nature conservation; nature-based tourism; cross-border conservation development; discourse analysis; transboundary conservation development; policy making; decision making; rural communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2013.054057

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2013 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.128 - 151

Received: 09 Sep 2012
Accepted: 10 Mar 2013

Published online: 02 Jul 2014 *

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