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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Bringing in the Wild: The Commodification of Wild Animals in the Cape Colony/Province c. 1850-1950
Author:Van Sittert, LanceISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
Subjects:wild animals
nature conservation
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4100682
Abstract:The history of the imperial/colonial elite's preoccupation with saving a handful of specific 'game' species in reserves has come to stand for the relationship of all classes with all wild animals in both South Africa and the wider world of the British empire. The result is a narrative of process and periodization flawed in general and false in the specific case of the Cape Colony/Province, where economics rather than ideology was both the primary motor of game conservation and the mediating factor in human relationships with wild animal species. Here the general trend across the century from 1850 to 1950 was, contra MacKenzian orthodoxy, towards private not public ownership of game propelled by a rural rather than an urban elite. Public ownership was instead restricted to 'vermin' species in which the State created a market in which it became the chief consumer. The Cape's great tradition was refracted through its customary permissive legislation to yield a myriad of small traditions at the regional or local level. Rather than an argument for Cape exceptionalism, its wild animal history is a caution against glib generalizations from the elite archive and an indication of the need to broaden prevailing 'game reserve history' to include the full range of human and animal inhabitants as agents rather than as residual analytical categories in any narrative. Ref., sum. [Journal abstract]