Documenting “Community” in the ≠khomani San Land Claim in South Africa

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Abstract

In this article I explore how documents created in support of ≠khomani San land claimants, located in the southern Kalahari Desert, represent a specific way of knowing that contributes to a socio-legal construction of “community.” The documents that I use in this article have been authored by government organizations and NGOs, and compiled into a single repository of community information. By tracking the use of the term community throughout the repository, I demonstrate that the term is articulated through and across various fields of knowledge to achieve different social, political, and legal ends. This field of diverse motives, I argue, is neutralized and obscured through the standardized form of the documents themselves, contributing to a socio-legal construction of community wherein notions of indigeneity are both exclusive and temporally fixed.

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