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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

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
In: Yearbook on the African Union Volume 1 (2020)
In: Yearbook on the African Union Volume 1 (2020)
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