State craft in the natural resources management structure of Uganda
Nakangu, Barbara Bugembe
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My thesis investigates how the process to centralize the structures of natural resource management in Uganda evolved out of and was shaped by the politics of social governance disguised as conservation. Making a conceptual and methodological departure from existing ecological studies, the thesis situates natural resource management within the political context of successive post-colonial regimes; reforms in natural resource management could not be divorced from the political orientation of various governments especially their ideas on the management of society. Using the state as a unit of analysis, and within the purview of the ecological perspective, the thesis problematizes the politics of contemporary natural resource management under the NRM government to investigate why attempts at revamping, expanding, and strengthening of the resource management structure have increasingly become unable to address the continuing ecological challenges. I debunk the simplistic argument posited by prevailing ecological debates, which attribute the paradox to the weaknesses in implementing the established ecological institutions, policies, and laws. My intervention instead situates these weakness in the very structure that governs society; a structure that reinforces interests of capitalistic accumulation. I also contribute methodologically to the political ecology literature that has focused on politicising the conservation structure as a framework for extending the global framework of capitalism to include the national political dimensions of the problem. I thus demonstrate how national political interests shape and sustain the natural resources structure in ways that aid exploitation by global capital accumulation interests. This dialectical dimension broadens the understanding of the persistent conflicts associated with Protected Areas in Uganda.