The Limits of Economic Benefits: Adding Social Affordances to the Analysis of Trophy Hunting of the Khwe and Ju/’hoansi in Namibian Community-Based Natural Resource Management

Koot, Stasja


In the global neoliberal ecological discourse, trophy hunting proponents often articulate the economic benefits it creates for local communities, especially through jobs and meat. Trophy hunting revenues are also crucial to support the overall operational costs of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). The aim of this paper is to show that this rather simplified dominant discourse, based only on “benefits”, sells short the local realities of the Khwe and Ju/’hoansi Bushmen (San) in the Bwabwata National Park and the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, Namibia, respectively. Building on Gibson, I use the concept of “social affordances” as an addition to economic benefits. This leads me to argue for an expansion of the debate beyond the limits of economic benefits to the human domain, to better understand the multiple experiences, perceptions, power relations and meanings (for good and ill) of local actors on trophy hunting and its main players.