Samantha Williams

Samantha Williams is a social scientist based at the Cape Research Centre (CRC) of the South African National Parks (SANParks), South Africa. Since 2005, she has worked actively on projects on natural resource use and governance, rural livelihoods and has had a particular focus on the small scale fisheries sector of South Africa. Samantha’s current work is focused on conducting or overseeing applied research in South Africa’s national parks which seeks to address socio-ecological and tourism questions, developing cultural heritage and community benefit projects with the aim to emphasise and strengthen community based conservation initiatives and promote sustainable resource use.

Samantha holds a Master’s degree from the University of the Western Cape and a PhD (2013) in Environmental and Geographical Science from the University of Cape Town. Her PhD thesis was inspired by her research and capacity development work in a number of small-scale fishing communities in the Western Cape and aimed to enhance understanding of the various mechanisms employed by marginal coastal communities to claim, gain and maintain access to coastal resources. The findings highlighted that despite a myriad of constraints, resource users employ a range of mechanisms which include reference to customary practices, draw on existing social relations, identity and culture as well as networks to claim and gain access to resources.


Fellow member
University of Cape Town
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