Prof André Pelser
S 24 B
IB 41
051 4012653

Short CV

André Pelser holds an MA (Sociology) and Ph.D. (Sociology) from the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa). He started his career in 1985 as a researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria (South Africa) before joining the University of the Free State in 1990, where he is currently Professor of Sociology. His areas of expertise include applied social and policy research, social ecology and the implications of changing population dynamics for human development and the environment. He teaches and supervises post graduate candidates in Sociology, Development Studies and Environmental Management and acts as external examiner/moderator for, amongst others, the Universities of Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Manonmaniam Sundaranar (Tamil Nadu, India). André is the author/co-author of approximately 50 peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals, nine books/ chapters in books, more than 40 commissioned research reports and has occasionally acted as reviewer for 14 scholarly journals. He has consulted for numerous national and international organisations and agencies, including several government departments and agencies, international mining companies, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations. He is a regular panelist and external reviewer for research grant applications submitted to the National Research Foundation in South Africa, and has served as research and technical advisor to the United Nations Population Fund, the International Foundation of Science (Sweden), the Research Council of Norway, the African Climate Change Fellowship Programme (Tanzania), the Water Research Commission (South Africa) and the National Agricultural Marketing Council (South Africa). He is also an NRF rated researcher (C category). André`s current research interest focuses on integrated conservation and development initiatives in developing countries; more particularly the socio-economic benefits that national parks and other protected areas channel to their neighbouring communities, as well as the impact of such initiatives on poverty alleviation and the general well-being of local communities.  



Publications (Short List)

A selection of some of his recent publications and papers of the past five years includes  the following:


  • Tanyi P, PELSER AJ & Mbah, P. 2018. Care of the elderly in Nigeria: Implications for policy. Cogent Social Sciences, DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2018.1555201 Available at

  • Tanyi P, PELSER AJ & Okiebunor J. 2018. HIV/AIDS and older adults in Cameroon: Emerging issues and implications for caregiving and policy making. Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, vol 15(1) 7-19. Available at

  • Tanyi P & PELSER AJ 2018. The missing link: Finding space for gerontology content into university curricula in South Africa. Gerontology and Geriatrics Education. Available at

  • Murye AF & Pelser AJ. 2018. Commercial harvesting of marula (sclerocarya birrea) in Swaziland: A quest for sustainability. In Sen, B & Grillo, O (eds.). Selected Studies in Biodiversity London: IntechOpen, pp. 303-317 (ISBN 978-1-78923-233-5). Available at file:///C:/Users/pelseraj/Downloads/Commercial_Harvesting_of_Marula_Sclerocarya_Birrea.pdf  

  • Pelser AJ. 17. Improving human well-being through conservation initiatives: A South African experience. Paper presented at the International Conference for Social Sciences and Humanities. Venice (Italy), 20-23 June.

  • Pelser AJ. 2017. National parks and poverty alleviation in South Africa: Lessons from an integrated conservation and development initiative. Paper presented at the 11th annual International Conference on Sociology. Athens (Greece): 1-4 May.

  • Flato M, Muttarak, R & Pelser AJ. 2016. Women, Weather, and Woes: The triangular dynamics of female-headed households, economic vulnerability, and climate variability in South AfricaWorld Development Available at 

  • Murye A & Pelser AJ 2016. The socio-economic contribution of marula harvesting to rural livelihoods in Swaziland. Paper presented at the 4th Annual Sustainable Development Conference. Kuching, Malaysia: 7-9 July 2016.  
  • Pelser AJ, Redelinghuys N & Kernan AM. 2015. Protected areas and ecosystem services — Integrating grassland conservation with human well-being in South Africa. In: Lo Y, Blanco JA & Roy S (eds.) Biodiversity in Ecosystems: Linking Structure and Function. Rijeka: InTech, pp.597-626. ISBN 978-953-51-2028-5. Available at 
  • Pelser AJ 2015. A multi-sectoral approach to sustainability training for government officials: The population-environment-development nexus training programme in South Africa. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. Copenhagen, Denmark: 21-23 January 2015
  • Pelser AJ 2015. Integrated conservation and development approaches in South Africa: lessons, benefits and challenges. Paper presented at the 15th International Academic Conference, Rome, Italy 14-17 April 2015. 
  • Goodrick W & Pelser AJ 2014. The graying of a rainbow nation: Policy responses to the implications of population ageing in South AfricaAfrican Population Studies 28(2):648-660. DOI: 
  • Pelser AJ, Redelinghuys N & Velelo N 2013. Protected areas as vehicles in population development: lessons from rural South Africa. Environment, Development and Sustainability 15(1): DOI 10.1007/s10668-013-9434-4. Available at
  • Redelinghuys N & Pelser AJ 2013. Challenges to cooperation on water utilisation in the Southern Africa regionWater Policy 15: 554-569.

Area(s) of Interest

Population-environment-development interfaces
This includes, but is not restricted to, big dam constructions and forced relocations of communities; mining operations and the social impact of such operations; environmental changes and their impact on human populations.

Social demography
Socio-economic implications and policy challenges emanating from current and future demographic changes such as ageing, migration and declining fertility

Social ecology
People and parks interfaces; community-based conservation, integrated environment and development programmes

Courses Presented

SOCT 3718: Social Theory. The focus in this module is on different sociological paradigms: the classical paradigms, Marxist and critical paradigms, phenomenology; post modernism; structurationist paradigms; feminism; globalisation paradigms and the multi-paradigmatic status of sociological theory.

SOCR 3728: Social Research and Practice. This module deals with the research process to introduce students to the scientific world of collecting and interpreting data and understanding issues pertaining to research traditions (positivist paradigm; interpretivist paradigm; critical paradigm); as well as issues related to ethics in research. The focus of the applied exercises is on quantitative research and statistical data analysis, whereas students are also introduced - albeit in a more theoretical manner - to qualitative research.

SOCP 6808: The sociology of population and the environment. The module focuses on issues pertaining to the linkages between changing demographic  and environmental issues from a sociological perspective.

DIMI 7910 - Disaster vulnerability and impact assessment. This module focuses, among others, on social impact assessment as a research tool and policy instrument to inform planning and decision making in a disaster management context.   



T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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