Conference of the Association of African Studies in Germany (VAD) – “African Connections”
Katharina Döring & Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199, Leipzig U)
|Date||Wednesday, 27 June 2018 – Saturday, 30 June 2018|
|Location||Institute of African Studies and the Centre for Area Studies (Leipzig U) | Campus Augustusplatz 10 (2nd Floor) | 04109 Leipzig | Deutschland|
|Contact||Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199, Leipzig U) | email@example.com|
(Re)Spatialization During Conflict Intervention: Intervention Experiences of ECOWAS and the AU
Recently, processes of re-spatialization around violent conflict in West Africa have gained considerable attention by highlighting complex African connections. Two interesting cases in point are, first, the secessionist attempts by groups of armed Tuareg in Mali in 2012 coupled with other violent actors labelled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘Islamists’, and second, the continuing instability in Guinea-Bissau, among other things characterized by recurrent military coups and activities of transnational drug networks. Diverse actors, among them nation-states, international, and regional organizations are connected in their attempts to deal with these developments, at times competing at others cooperating, and have become part of the unfolding dynamics. To name but a few examples, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, but also the United Nations and the European Union have played key roles, simultaneously reacting to and shaping processes of re-spatialization. In this panel, we are interested in different spatial articulations, perceptions, and connections of such conflicts, explicit or implicit spatial references and imaginations of the involved actors, and the results of their intended or unintended spatializing actions.
Katharina Döring & Jens Herpolsheimer
“(Re)Spatialization During Conflict Intervention: Intervention Experiences of ECOWAS and the AU”
Since the 1990s, a steadily growing number of scholarly contributions have dealt with conflict interventions by African regional organizations all across of Africa, but specifically in the various crises in West Africa. While this literature covers a wide variety of issues, it still lacks reflection on the entangled nature of intervention experiences of African peace and security actors as well as their relation to continuous policy development (e.g. on unconstitutional changes of government, professionalization of mediation, and post-conflict reconstruction). Moreover, despite omnipresent references to spatial imaginaries, like ‘state’, ‘territory’, ‘region’, or ‘architecture’, space as a central dimension of social interaction is rarely considered explicitly. This paper starts to address these gaps. Drawing on an exploratory overview of ECOWAS and AU interventions in West African conflicts since the early 2000s, the paper sketches out how these efforts have related to the recent processes of (re)spatialization in West Africa. Introducing a notion of space based on insights from critical geography, it argues that ‘space’ offers a useful analytical lens to better comprehend and explain the complex interactions among different actors, practices, and agendas during conflict intervention. Thus, the paper aims to contribute to a more theoretically guided debate on the politics of African peace and security.
(SFB 1199,Leipzig U, Germany)
Katharina Döring is a doctoral student at the University of Leipzig (Germany) and researcher at the SFB project B7 investigating new regionalisms and violent conflict in Africa. She studied within the Erasmus Mundus MA programme “Global Studies – A European Perspective” at the universities of Leipzig, Addis Ababa, and Roskilde and focused on international studies, new political geography, and global history. Currently, she explores the potential of a space-sensitive perspective for understanding the responses of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) towards the Malian crisis in 2012.
(SFB 1199, Leipzig U, Germany)
Jens Herpolsheimer is a doctoral student at Leipzig University (Germany) and researcher at the SFB project B7 investigating “new regionalisms” and violent conflict in Africa. His research focuses on the interventions in Guinea-Bissau by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU). He studied African Studies (BA and MA) at Leipzig University (Germany), the Sciences Po Bordeaux (France) and the Centro de Estudos Internacionais of ISCTE-IUL (CEI-IUL) in Lisbon (Portugal). His research interests include peace and security, African politics, comparative regionalisms, and lusophone Africa.