Is this a Drought or is this a Drought and what is really Beautiful? Different Conceptualizations of the !Khuiseb Catchment (Central Namibia) and their Consequences

  • Nina Gruntkowski
Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 4)


This case study focuses on the different concepts of landscapes of different communities making use of the !Khuiseb catchment area (KCA; central Namibia). They conceptualise their environment in different ways due to their different cultural backgrounds and daily experiences with it. It shows how the desert environment of the lower !Khuiseb River is viewed by indigenous Topnaar people and how the more productive highland of the upper !Khuiseb River is valued by farmers of European descent. As we are living in an increasingly globalised world concepts are also imported from foreign environments. These concepts have an impact upon the discourses on the ‘new’ environment. On the basis of the conceptualisation of ‘drought’ and ‘aesthetics of landscape’ by different people this chapter elaborates on how concepts can frame the present use of the environment and the spatial distribution of people within the !Khuiseb catchment area.

The fact that processes take place over space. The fact of distance or closeness of geographical variation between areas, of the individual character and meaning of specific places and regions – all these are essential the operation of social processes themselves.... Nor do any of these processes operate in an environmentally characterless, neutral und undifferentiated world. (Massey in Jackson, 1989, p. 184)


National Park European Descent Desert Region Panoramic View Farmer Group 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Gruntkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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