Taking Intervention Politics Seriously

Antonia Witt and Simone Schnabel explore local contestation of interventions by the AU and ECOWAS in Burkina Faso and Gambia.

Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (Photo: tandfonline.com)

Scholars increasingly investigate how the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is contested and negotiated in practice. Yet little knowledge exists on the politics African regional interventions provoke in the societies affected by such interventions. Based on an analysis of more than 1,000 media reports from Burkinabe and Gambian news media, Antonia Witt and Simone Schnabel show that regional interventions by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are indeed contested locally, irrespective of the means of intervention applied. Moreover, the analysis demonstrates how local elites use regional norms and policies in order to claim power and define what is going (wr)on(g). With this, the authors provide evidence for the (contested) local effects of APSA and for the relevance of media for researching such effects.

The article “Taking Intervention Politics Seriously: Media Debates and the Contestation of African Regional Interventions ‘from Below’” was recently published in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. Due to PRIF’s Open Acces Publication Fund, it is freely accessible.

The media analysis, on which this article draws, is part of the ongoing research project “Local perceptions of regional interventions: AU and ECOWAS in Burkina Faso and The Gambia”.