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Authors: Michael Aeby and Jamie Pring

Abstract

The buzzword ‘inclusion’ has taken peace research by storm and seeped into studies on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and peace processes facilitated by African regional organisations. Apparently resonating with the normative preferences of donors and researchers, inclusion has taken root in policies on peace and security. However, the understandings of inclusion in peace processes remain diffuse in research and policy, and the research discourse seems far removed from the praxis of ‘peace deal-making’ in Africa. Therefore, this chapter turns the focus from APSA’s pillars to its peace processes and (self-)critically reflects on the concepts, methods and merits of researching inclusive peace-making. Focusing on policy discourses, actor groups and mechanisms for inclusion in peace processes, the chapter discusses the practice of civil society inclusion in peace-making in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), focusing on the peace processes facilitated by the two organizations in South Sudan and Zimbabwe, respectively.

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

Abstract

This chapter analyses the contribution of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) as a norm entrepreneur to the discourse on ‘African solutions to African problems’ (AfSol). Conceptually, the chapter combines an international practice perspective with the literature on norm contestation. Empirically, it scrutinises the practices that actors at the IPSS have employed to shape norms, policies, and strategies related to the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). In particular, the chapter focuses on key IPSS publications on AfSol, to illustrate the discursive norm contestation of AfSol as an APSA norm. It interrogates the extent of problematisation of AfSol in these publications and the extent to which they refer to the various AfSol pillars designated by the IPSS, namely ownership and commitment, leadership, and shared values. The chapter argues that despite the rhetorical appeal of the idea, the ideal of AfSol has not yet been critically explored. After examining the epistemic limitations of the extant approaches, the authors propose a much more concentrated discursive contestation of AfSol with regard to the meaning, validity, and applicability of this emergent norm in African peace and security policies.

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

Abstract

This chapter uses the concept of ‘informal international practices’ (IIPs) to explore the relational nature and origins of the African Peace and Security Architecture. It argues that ‘outinsiders’, actors who have one foot outside the door of public offices and the other foot inside official circles, have used IIPs to develop the specific elements of APSA and to get the leadership of the African Union, in particular African Heads of State and Government, to accept them as the main African peace and security framework. More specifically, the chapter describes how, on the one hand, African leaders have found appeal in and helped to shape a collectivist trait of the informal relational order underlying APSA. On the other, it analyses how outinsiders have used informal channels to introduce, adapt and consolidate specific norms and procedures. The chapter argues that, although tensions sometimes have existed (and continue to do so) between the primary objectives of the two groups of actors, the results have been narratives, policies, and practices that while influenced by larger, global discourses clearly reflect African agency with an impact on discourses beyond the continent. The chapter therefore offers a telling example of the importance of informality in international affairs.

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

Abstract

Noting a relative neglect of African regional organizations other than the African Union in academic research, especially with regard to actual everyday practices, this chapter provides insights into the internal system, workings and influences of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Drawing on their privileged position as insiders to ECOWAS-donor relationships, the authors analyse relations of the ECOWAS Commission with development partners in the field of peace and security. In particular, the chapter looks at how donors / partners position and align themselves vis-à-vis the ECOWAS Commission to further the implementation of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture. Moreover, they critically reflect upon the intricacies of conducting a form of work-based research. In that endeavour, the chapter engages with arguments that highlight the necessity of writing from within to overcome the constraints in access and data availability for academia, but also with the danger of being too close to the subject.

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

Abstract

This chapter introduces the main objectives of the edited volume, which are, first, to advance conceptual debates in order to capture more adequately the diverse, interrelated and historically contingent set of actors, practices and narratives involved in the construction, adaptation, and contestation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Secondly, it aims to stimulate more explicit scholarly discussion about methodology and research practice. To that end, the chapter outlines the development of existing scholarship on APSA and identifies gaps therein as well as more general challenges of doing research on this subject. It traces part of these gaps and challenges to a persistent dominance of conventional approaches in international relations (IR) scholarship, and to a disconnect from more innovative conceptual approaches, associated with the research agendas of international studies and global studies. Based on this, the chapter reflects upon methodological challenges and outlines key elements of a new agenda to guide and advance research on the ‘inner life’ of APSA.

In: Researching the Inner Life of the African Peace and Security Architecture
Authors: Linnéa Gelot and Ulf Engel

Abstract

This chapter sketches a possible way of integrating different approaches to the study of APSA into one field of enquiry, namely global studies. This offers a meaningful heuristic, both in terms of epistemology and methodological implications. First, the chapter appraises of the conceptual contributions that the authors of this edited collection have developed. For analytical reasons, this is organised along a focus on actors, practices, and narratives. Second, the chapter discusses how a specific version of global studies – developed since the beginning of this century mainly in the field of academic teaching – values and draws together the plurality of these proposals. Third, the chapter recapitulates the innovative methods for the study of APSA, introduced in the chapters of this edited volume. Finally, it proposes four overarching methodological considerations that are central to the field of global studies: comparison, historicity, reflexivity, and engagement.

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

Abstract

This chapter presents several ethical and methodological issues related to a research collaboration between a peace and development scholar from Sweden and a human rights defender from Somalia. The chapter offers a reflexive and practically oriented discussion of a project that draws on focus groups and interviews in order to research societal perspectives on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). It adds to the recent research on African interventionism in order to highlight the benefits of research collaboration and knowledge co-production. What sets this contribution apart from similar previous works is that the authors’ main aim is to share their insights regarding what the methodological choices they made together added to the overall analysis and results. They argue that their experience of research collaboration led to a number of ‘epistemic openings’, obtaining a fine-grained and comprehensive set of insights on the micro-governance of local perceptions about intervening actors and especially AMISOM. Moreover, it allows to capture multifaceted narratives about localised consequences of interventions.

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

Abstract

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.

In: Researching the Inner Life of the African Peace and Security Architecture
This edited volume offers new insights into the inner life of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and introduces scholars of African security dynamics to innovative epistemological, conceptual and methodological approaches. Based on intellectual openness and an interest in transdisciplinary perspectives, the volume challenges existing orthodoxies, poses new questions and opens a discussion on actual research practice. Drawing on Global Studies and critical International Studies perspectives, the authors follow inductive approaches and let the empirical data enrich their theoretical frameworks and conceptual tools. In this endeavor they focus on actors, practices and narratives involved in African Peace and Security and move beyond the often Western-centric premises of research carried out within rigid disciplinary boundaries.

Contributors are Michael Aeby, Yvonne Akpasom, Katharina P.W. Döring, Ulf Engel, Fana Gebresenbet Erda, Linnéa Gelot, Amandine Gnanguênon, Toni Haastrup, Jens Herpolsheimer, Alin Hilowle, Jamie Pring, Lilian Seffer, Thomas Kwasi Tieku, Antonia Witt, Dawit Yohannes Wondemagegnehu
Author: Antonia Witt

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.

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