Spatializing Practices of Regional Organizations during Conflict Intervention: The Politics of ECOWAS and the African Union

Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199 & Leipzig U)

Publication Date

March 2021


London: Routledge





Additional Information


This book studies relevant actors and practices of conflict intervention by African regional organizations and their intimate connection to space-making, addressing a major gap regarding what actually happens within and around these organizations.

Based on extensive empirical research, it argues that those intervention practices are essentially spatializing practices, based on particular spatial imaginations, contributing to the continuous construction and formatting of regional spaces as well as to ordering relations between different regional spaces. Analyzing the field of developing practices of conflict intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), the book contributes a new theory-oriented analytical approach to study African regional organizations (ROs) and the complex dynamics of African peace and security, based on insights from Critical Geography. As such, it helps to close an empirical gap with regard to the ‘internal’ modes of operation of African ROs as well as the lack of their theorization. It demonstrates that, contrary to most accounts, intervention practices of African ROs have been diverse and complexly interrelated, involving different actors within and around these organizations, and are essentially tied to the space-making.

This book will be of key interest to students and scholars of African Politics, Governance, Peace and Security Studies, International or Regional Organizations and more broadly to Comparative Regionalism, International Relations and International Studies.

Biographical Note

Dr. Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199 & Leipzig University)

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.