Naamdr. SP Koot

OmschrijvingUniversitair docent
OrganisatieDepartement Maatschappijwetenschappen
OrganisatieeenheidSociologie van Ontwikkeling en Verandering
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Ma Di Wo Do Vr


I am an Assistant Professor at the Sociology of Development and Change group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management & Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

After my MA degrees (Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies), I lived at the resettlement farm Tsintsabis, Namibia. From 2002 to 2007 I supported the Hai//om ethnic group there to build up Treesleeper Camp. Treesleeper is a community-based ecotourism camp, for which the idea had started during a 6-month fieldwork period for my MA research in anthropology in 1999.

When returning to the Netherlands in 2007, I became a fundraiser for large grants at the Edukans Foundation, a Dutch NGO specializing in educational development projects. In 2009, I complemented this job by starting a PhD as an external candidate at Tilburg University/African Studies Centre, University of Leiden. I then really wanted to change my career path into academia and this resulted in the dissertation (a monograph) about Indigenous peoples in southern African tourism and nature conservation in 2013.

After a short job as Tourism and Research Lecturer at the InHolland University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, I found a 2-year position (2013-2015) as a Postdoctoral researcher at the International Institute for Social Studies (ISS, The Hague, the Netherlands) of the Erasmus University (Rotterdam, the Netherlands). In this position I got the chance to broaden my research interests to the field of ‘Nature 2.0’. In Nature 2.0, imaginations about nature (conservation) and the ways in which these are co-created through new and social media are the central dynamics.

In addition to teaching and research, I organized the international conference Political Ecologies of Conflict, Capitalism and Contestation (PE-3C) in July 2016. PE-3C has been the first-ever bi-annual conference of the international Political Ecology Network POLLEN, of which Wageningen University has taken up the role to be its secretariat for the first three years. For POLLEN I carried out most of the secretarial activities and I am still on teh advisory board. In addition, I play an active role in three groups of the Centre for Space, Place and Society (CSPS) and I am currently chairing the Programme Committee of the Master of Tourism.

Sociale media
  Stasja Koot eigen website
  Stasja Koot op ResearchGate



My research and writing revolve around the convergences and dynamics of nature conservation, (sustainable) tourism and development. Inequality and power - with a special emphasis on Indigenous peoples - are at the core of my work. Empirically, I have explored and studied these themes mostly in southern Africa (Namibia and South Africa), where I have lived and worked in the past (Namibia), and a bit in Indonesia. The following empirical and theoretical research trajectories can be identified in my work:

1. Indigenous peoples, apartheid and nature-based tourism

As a heavily marginalised group, the Indigenous San often end up in tourism settings (not always by their own choice), and so become part of the larger global tourism industry and networks. Since tourism in southern Africa is mostly nature-based, and because most of the San people live in rural areas, their involvement in tourism cannot be seen apart from their involvement in nature conservation. Furthermore, this trajectory focuses on the on-going societal consequences of the former (i.e. official) Apartheid regime among Indigenous peoples in (Northeast) Namibia, with a focus on contemporary environmental problems. In this research, Apartheid is not only regarded a legal framework from the past in South Africa and Namibia, but as a continually changing socio-cultural and economic structure. Looking at Apartheid in this way can help us to better understand contemporary racial and ethnic divides in relation to environmental problems and solutions.

2. The South African Wildlife Economy

In this research, I explore how the tourism industry adjacent to the Kruger National Park, in the South African Lowveld, which is affected by the contemporary rhino poaching crisis. I look into the industry's responses to this crisis. Furthermore, I investigate how people who live at so-called ‘wildlife estates’ in the Lowveld articulate their ‘belonging’ to the area in this new nature conservation/tourism model. Wildlife estates are gated communities that are also (over)stocked with wildlife, on which many houses often function as ‘second homes’ and/or are rented out part of the year.

3. Philanthrocapitalism, enjoyment and new types of tourism

Two new, and growing, types of tourism that I explore are what I have dubbed ‘philanthrotourism’ and ‘environmentourism’. Both are based on theories about philanthrocapitalism, in which the ‘very rich’ engage in a large variety of developmental and conservation projects, under the assumption that those mechanisms that made them rich, are also the best mechanisms to sustainably address inequality, marginalisation and environmental degradation. The value and ideologies behind this, however, spread ideas and practices that are associated with nature conservation and in development, highly affecting these sectors. In my recent work I applied a psychoanalytical approach of ‘enjoyment’ (jouissance) to philanthrocapitalism.

4) Critical analyses of research

This trajectory reflects on the meanings of and practices in research. It addresses questions and issues that are of broader relevance to the scientific community. Having been involved in a variety of debates regarding ethical and political issues in research, I learned how important it is to reflect on what ‘we’ do, how we do this, and why it matters (or not).


Coordinating and teaching:

  • Anthropology and Development (MSc)
  • International Development and Tourism (MSc)


Teaching a part of the following courses:

  • Sociology of Tourism (BSc)
  • Communities, conservation and development (MSc)
  • Tourism and Sustainable Development (MSc)
  • Methodology for Field Research in the Social Sciences (MSc)
  • Advanced Qualitative Research Design & Data Collection (PhD)
  • DEC-20306 - Rural Households and Livelihood Strategies
  • ENP-11806 - Sociology & Tourism
  • GEO-31806 - Tourism & Sustainable Development
  • GEO-56806 - Advanced Qualitative Research Design and Data Collection Methods
  • SDC-32306 - Anthropology and Development
  • SDC-33306 - Methodology for Field Research in the Social Sciences
  • SDC-36806 - International Development & Tourism
  • SDC-80424 - MSc Thesis Sociology of Development and Change
  • SDC-80724 - MSc Thesis Disaster Studies
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