Local perceptions of regional interventions: AU and ECOWAS in Burkina Faso and The Gambia
African regional organizations such as the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have become central actors in the area of peace and security in Africa: for instance through mediation in political and constitutional crises (such as 2014 in Burkina Faso and 2016 in The Gambia) or through the deployment of peacekeeping missions (as for instance in Mali and South Sudan). With this, African regional organizations increasingly shape order(s) and politics in African states and thus the conditions under which Africans live today.
In their peace-making activities both organizations are guided by a ‘people-centred’ discourse, which is for instance reflected in norms of ‘local ownership’ and ‘inclusive peace-making’. Yet contrary to this rhetoric, the perspectives of those affected by these norms and interventions have hitherto received scant attention in the scholarly debate. Against this background, this research project – currently in a preparatory stage – seeks to turn the hitherto dominant top-down perspective on African regional organizations upside down, by scrutinizing how people in societies affected by regional interventions perceive and evaluate both the intervention and its responsible regional organization. More concretely, we seek to gauge reflections on concrete intervention experiences, the knowledge people hold about African regional organizations, as well more general expectations towards them. On the one hand, this aims at establishing a new analytical perspective on African regional organizations. On the other hand, reconstructing concrete experiences and perceptions of interventions will allow us to generate new knowledge on the legitimacy and effectiveness of African intervention politics.
The project will draw on case studies from regional interventions Burkina Faso (2014/15) and The Gambia (2016/17), two countries in which AU and ECOWAS intervened in the midst of a political crisis and thus decisively shaped how this crisis came to be resolved. Methodically, the project is based on focus group discussions, interviews as well as media analyses. It also includes cooperation with (junior) scholars from both countries.
- ECOWAS Sondergipfel in Burkina Faso | 2019
Schnabel, Simone (2019): ECOWAS Sondergipfel in Burkina Faso. Es braucht mehr Kooperation als die G5 Sahel, PRIF Blog, 18.9.2019.
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- Where Regional Norms Matter | 2019
Witt, Antonia (2019): Where Regional Norms Matter. Contestation and the Domestic Impact of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, Africa Spectrum, 11.7.2019.
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- African Regional Organizations Seen From Below: Theorizing Legitimacy Beyond the European Nation-State | 2018
Schnabel, Simone (2018): African Regional Organizations Seen From Below: Theorizing Legitimacy Beyond the European Nation-State, PRIF Working Papers No. 42, Frankfurt/M.
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- Towards Studying African Interventions ‘from Below’ – A Short Conclusion | 2018
Witt, Antonia/Khadiagala, Gilbert (2018): Towards Studying African Interventions ‘from Below’ – A Short Conclusion, in: South African Journal of International Affairs, Special Issue, 25:1, 133–139, DOI: 10.1080/10220461.2018.1438917.
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