Chapter 4 Societal Perspectives on African Interventions

Three Methodological Approaches

In: Researching the Inner Life of the African Peace and Security Architecture
Author: Antonia Witt

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Abstract

This chapter seeks to demonstrate the feasibility and value-added of understanding societal perspectives on African interventions by presenting a methodological research agenda. It discusses three different approaches to researching societal perspectives on African interventions: media analysis, survey research, and focus groups/interviews. Each approach is based on different data, relies on a different understanding of what counts as ‘societal’, and by consequence is able to shed light on very different aspects of societal perspectives. Societal perspectives refer to multiple experiences, evaluations, expectations and knowledges held by people – elite and non-elite – living in countries affected by African regional interventions. Therefore, in line with the two-fold objective of this volume, the chapter draws attention to the so far neglected role of ‘societies’ in the construction, adaptation, and contestation of APSA, while at the same time explicitly engaging in a methodological discussion on how methodological choices affect whose voices become heard in the scholarly debates about APSA.