The knowledge-power nexus: towards a political ecology of South Africa’s Integrated Coastal Management policy
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Integrated coastal management (ICM) has been unequivocally established in policy and legislation as the preferred framework within which environmental management in South Africa’s coastal environment should be undertaken. The production and dissemination of knowledge is seen as a critical component of the ICM framework, to the extent that ‘reliable knowledge’ is considered as one of two pillars that underpin the philosophy of the ICM process. The centrality of knowledge to ICM raises questions around objectivity, relevance, subjectivity, hegemony, hierarchy, power and negotiation within the process of knowledge production, as well as concepts of knowledge legitimacy in the promotion of specific kinds of knowledge within the ICM framework. This study responds to the prevailing notion within the environmental management field that the act of managing our environment is an apolitical or socially sterile one, by exploring the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and power as a point of departure. Thereafter, political ecology is employed as a method to contextualise and highlight some of the social processes at play within the ICM process.