Book : Hunting Justice Displacement, Law, and Activism in the Kalahari

This book presents a long-term study of the activist campaign that contested the Botswana government’s much-publicized removal of the San and Bakgalagadi people from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Sapignoli’s multiple points of observation and analysis range from rural Botswana to the nation’s High Court, and a variety of United Nations agencies in their Headquarters, focusing on rights claimants and officials from NGOs, states and the United Nations as they acted on the grievances of those who had been displaced. In offering a comprehensive discussion of the San people and their claims-making through formal institutions, this book maintains a consistent focus on the increased recourse to law and the everyday experience of those who are asserting their rights in response to the encroachments of the state and the opportunities inherent in new indigenous advocacy networks.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Unsettling the central Kalahari
3. The ‘bushman problem’
4. Getting organized: the social lives of San NGOs
5. The San in the United Nations
6. The court
7. After judgment
8. Litigating for a way of life
9. Conclusions.


Maria Sapignoli is Research Fellow in the Department of Law and Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Since 2006 she has carried out ethnographic work in Botswana, most recently in Namibia, and in several international organizations, including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters. She is the co-editor of Palaces of Hope: The Anthropology of the Global Organizations (Cambridge, 2017).

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