Research Group African Intervention Politics

The Research Group "African Inter­vention Politics" studies inter­ventions by African regional organi­­zations such as the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). These organi­zations have become central actors in establishing and maintaining peace and security on the African continent, whether through diplomacy, mediation, sanctions, or the deployment of peace­­­keeping missions. Despite this empirical and practical relevance, there is still a lack of systematic knowledge about the practices and conse­­quences of African inter­ventions. In contrast to hitherto dominant institu­­tionalist and top-down approaches to studying African regional inter­ventions, the Research Group adopts a "bottom-up" perspective that focuses on the politics of the inter­ventions in question.

In so doing, the Research Group concen­trates on two thematic areas: On the one hand, we explore the knowledge orders and practices that underlie African inter­ventions and with the help of which various actors in inter­ventions try to establish peace and order. On the other hand, we investigate the effects of these inter­ventions on the political and social order in affected countries and how different social groups experience and evaluate the inter­ventions. In both cases, we focus on primarily non-military inter­ventions, which remain the most important form of African inter­vention to date. Methodo­­logically, we use focus group and interview research, survey research, and participant observation, among other methods. The various projects of the Research Group are carried out in close cooperation with African scholars based on the continent.