Chapter 6 Researching APSA through a Spatial Lens

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

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This chapter addresses the long-standing neglect of space in the study of the African Peace and Security Architecture, introducing a spatial lens in order to make sense of key developments and dynamics unfolding in and around the set of actors, practices, and narratives that make up APSA. Drawing on insights from critical geography, the chapter explains how ‘space’ offers a useful conceptual lens to capture previously overlooked empirical dimensions and makes sense of them from a theoretical perspective. It argues that a spatial lens enables scholars of APSA to see and understand APSA as essentially linked to partly overlapping political projects and spatial ordering based on particular spatial imaginations that are tied to spatial semantics and spatialising practices. At the same time, it allows to direct attention towards the multiple, entangled actors, practices, and narratives, which are still insufficiently captured, both empirically and from a theoretical perspective. Finally, the chapter explains how a spatial perspective influences research practice, offering a new methodological avenue to advance the study of APSA.