Studying practices of interregional security governance and space-making between ECOWAS and the European Union

Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199, Leipzig U)

Publication Date

August 2023


Taylor&Francis Online






Territory, Politics, Governance

Additional Information


Since the 1990s, cooperation on security governance between African regional organisations and the European Union (EU) has been growing. However, despite a steadily growing scholarship, knowledge about the agency of African regional organisations in interregional relations is still very limited, especially when it comes to the so-called regional economic communities officially recognised by the African Union as ‘building blocks’ for continental cooperation and integration. Responding to this research gap, this article studies practices of interregional security governance and space-making between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the EU, emphasising African agency. It argues that based on specific security knowledge and spatial imaginations, transnational security assemblages have emerged, resulting in a complex field of interregional relations, comprising multiple interconnected sites, actors and practices. It begins by mapping the field of ECOWAS–EU interregionalism and studies some of the sites, actors and practices in more detail. In this way, the article contributes to a research agenda that takes the agency of African regional organisations in their relations with the EU more seriously, and advances academic knowledge about their role in global international relations more generally.

Biographical Note

Dr. Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB1199, Leipzig University, Germany)

Jens Herpolsheimer studied African Studies in Leipzig, Bordeaux, and Lisbon. Subsequently, continuing research initiated during his master’s, he worked on cooperation dynamics at the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP). Since 2016, he is a researcher at the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1199) “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”, at Leipzig University. In this context, he has completed his PhD, focusing on intervention practices of African regional organizations and their spatializing effects. Since January 2020, Jens Herpolsheimer is a postdoctoral researcher at the SFB 1199, studying the practices of inter-regionalism between different actors at African regional organizations and the European Union. These issues reflect his more general research interests, among other things, including the politics and practices of peace and security in Africa, Lusophony, and comparative regionalism.