"Nothing green can grow without being on the land": Mine-affected communities' psychological experiences of ecological degradation and resistance in Rustenburg, South Africa.


Extractive industries have a deleterious impact on social ecologies. Mining is one of South Africa’s main industries, and communities’ resistance takes place in these extractive zones. This qualitative case study aims to explore and describe mine-affected community members’ psychological reactions and community responses to land and environmental injustices in the mining community of Rustenburg, South Africa. Data collection took place in August 2019. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 participants who were non-affiliated to the mines, of which four were also interviewed as part of a focus group. Interviews were conducted in English and Setswana after which a thematic analysis was performed. All participants reported psychological distress related to land and environmental injustices, specifically place severing and environmental health-related distress. Community resistance is aimed at preventing further harm and re-establishing connection to place through land restitution. Further studies on place severing and environmental-health related distress is warranted and possible opportunities for community psychologists to support these environmental justice struggles are highlighted.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v6i2-2p87

Keywords: Radical ecopsychology, liberation psychology, extractive industries, mining, climate change, place severing.


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