Civil Society Inclusion in AU's and ECOWAS' Non-Military Conflict Intervention Practices
The vision of the African Union (AU) – “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens [...]” – and the mission statement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – “From an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of Peoples” – suggest inclusive development processes and goals of the two organizations. This is interpreted as an intention to align their policies with the norm of “people-centric governance.” As central actors in the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), both organizations can intervene for purposes of crisis prevention, conflict management, and post-conflict reconstruction and development. Scholarly engagements with military components of African conflict interventions have dominated the generation of knowledge about African intervention politics to date. Besides, through the “local turn”, a strand of research has emerged that critically examines liberal peacebuilding and foregrounds the actions of local peacebuilding. The dissertation project addresses the intertwining of the local and the international in African non-military interventions by elaborating how and why civil society actors are included or excluded as collaborators in AU and ECOWAS conflict interventions. Using practice-theoretical approaches, the study reconstructs the practices of inclusion and exclusion of civil society actors on the basis of the two case studies Mali and Guinea and contributes to further opening the “black box” of African non-military intervention politics.
This will first be realized through guideline-based interviews with relevant AU and ECOWAS actors through field research visits to Addis Ababa and Abuja, and illustrated through the case studies. In the latter, guided interviews with civilian non-state actors and participatory approaches with focus groups will be conducted. In addition to experiential knowledge on inclusion and exclusion mechanisms in AU and ECOWAS interventions, information to reconstruct the actor landscape will be obtained through social network analyses and “communities of practice”, which form the conceptual framework of the project, will be identified in the field of African regional conflict interventions.