Nature & Society

In this research cluster, there are two main focuses - on 'a just transition from coal' ; and on food justice. With regard to the first, work is driven by the central concern that coal workers and those living in mining affected communities have contributed the most to developing South Africa’s mining economy, but have benefitted the least, and are at present excluded from debates about the modalities of a just transition from coal mining and burning. Working in and with mining affected communities, this research focuses on (i) the relationship between coal and dispossession; (ii) resistance to coal and struggles for a just transition and (iii) the need for a new analytical framework that emphasises the social and ecological consequences of coal mining and burning. The second focus is shaped by a recognition of the structural racism and economic injustice in the food system, and that struggles for food justice strive for greater equity and fairness by placing more control over food-related discussions in the hands of farmworkers, food sector workers and marginalised communities. Work done in relation to both of these focuses has emphasised the need for, and included, participatory methodologies that seek to empower members of the communities that become part of the research in different ways. 

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