Navigating the Intersections of Environmental and Social Sovereignty: A Comparative Analysis of India and South Africa

  • Anirudh Sharma and Dr Lakshmi Priya vinjyamuti
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  • Anirudh Sharma

    Student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

  • Dr Lakshmi Priya vinjyamuti

    Associate Professor at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

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This article offers a comparative analysis of both environmental and social sovereignty in India and South Africa, placed within the complexities of their colonial legacy – their path-dependent challenges of governing natural resources and environment on one hand, and arriving at equitable social justice on the other. By examining the role of British colonial rule on their environmental landscapes and social orientations, we illustrate some common experiences of the two countries, which share both a plural society transformation-legacy of the colonial period but also a divergence in the trajectories of postcolonial development carried down from that colonial past. We begin with some definitional clarity, follow up with historical antecedents, contemporary legal frameworks, and a comparative understanding of the struggles between development, conservation and social justice, as well as postcolonial attempts in social mobilization and political agency to articulate and advance these varying aims while striving for some form of environmental and social sovereignty. We situate this analysis by examining these countries’ legal and governance frameworks, social justice movements, and the role of indivisible indigenous knowledges within environmental management, and close with four recommendations on leveraging development and environmental sovereignty through indigenous knowledges, strengthening legal architectures, and advocating public participation in decision-making processes of development such as land use. In summary, this comparison can clarify a much-discussed complex problem of environmental and social sovereignties in post-colonial states.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 3, Page 1977 - 1996


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