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Call for Papers “Problematising Security Governance in Africa: A Case for Policy Convergence?”

Venue: Wits Rural Facility, Acornhoek, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Date: 27-30 June 2012
This call for papers is for the second of two workshops organised by the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011/12. Both workshops are funded by the EU Jean-Monnet Programme for Life-Long Learning. We are now looking for contributions for the second workshop, which will take place 27-30 June 2012 at Wits Rural Facility, a bush lodge near the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Travel and accommodation costs for accepted and submitted papers are covered by the workshop organisers.

Please submit an 800 word abstract explaining how your paper addresses the workshop theme, which explores the impact of convergence in four categories (partnership, institutional capacity, strategic interests or securitisation) detailed below. The deadline for abstract submissions is 1 February 2012. This workshop is planned as an academic retreat in which all papers will be discussed in-depth by a discussant. Travel costs will be covered for all participants upon reception of full-papers (max. 8000 words) on 27 May 2012. A selection of contributions will be considered for publication.

In 2012 the African Union celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since its inauguration in Durban, South Africa, African security governance has seen the setting up of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) which comes closest to what Kofi Annan called an ‘interlocking system of regional and global governance’. It is essentially based on the effective cooperation between Regional Economic Communities (RECs) the AU and non-African organizations such as the UN, EU and global and regional ‘pivotal’ powers. However, with the number of stakeholders growing and complexity increasing effective cooperation between all these different actors becomes increasingly more important. In the last ten years we have witnessed fractures and frictions within the African continent and beyond. The multilateral dynamics underlying the management of these complex structures have so far not been adequately explored as the mainstream literature is often preoccupied with the descriptive analyses of institutional set ups within the APSA.

Therefore this workshop takes a more analytical focus aiming to explore by which conditions the multitude of actors within the increasingly complex structure of regional and global security governance in Africa is shaped. With this workshop we aim at analysing the state of security governance convergence between African and non-African stake holders of the APSA along the lines of four analytical categories: partnership, institutional capacities, strategic interests and securitisation.

Convergence is the core concept for this second workshop. Given the complex nature of today’s security challenges and the equally complex demand for security responses and solutions, we aim at exploring to which extent the efficacy of security governance depends on the ability of its stake holders to create convergence. With convergence we mean a process of positive alignment in which actors, through interaction, occupy a common policy field and cooperate to reach a common goal resulting in a more unified system of complex but also dispersed responsibilities and tasks. We aim to explore the connection between problem solving competence of institutions and actors and the degree of convergence between them by following a number of questions: Have differences in partnerships, strategic interests, institutional capacities and security cultures impacted negatively on the level of cooperation between actors? While this is logical, to assume equating convergence with efficient cooperation might be premature. Thus papers are encouraged to explore the impact of convergences openly as too much convergence between security actors can potentially create greater rigidity in the concepts that are used, and therefore a reduced capacity to adapt to different political realities and to new evolutions.

The four analytical categories in which the impact of convergence will be assessed are operationalised as follows:

Partnership agreements between different actors have taken many forms. In the case of AU-REC, REC-REC, or AU-UN relations a number of MoUs have been signed. In the case of AU-EU relations an elaborate joint institutional framework has emerged. Thus there are a multitude of cooperation agreements which guide and structure security cooperation related to Africa. As their content is often declaratory in nature and effective implementation has been difficult to achieve, papers will analyse why MoU signatories are finding it so difficult to achieve their stated goals? Why is the rhetoric of equal partnership or subsidiarity used so often if it has hardly materialised in practice? Can we assume that unequal partnerships undermine the cooperation arrangements as shared ownership is manipulated or disturbed by the exercise of political authority over others?

Institutional Capacity
Institutional capacity assesses institutional problem solving capabilities. This condition is built on the idea that institutions need a certain minimum of resources to effectively serve their mandated mission. As institutions are assumed to operate under conditions of resource scarcity the effective pooling and coordination of these resources is essential to the overall efficacy of security governance structures. We thereby aim to explore how and if resource constraints are an accelerator for cooperation. Is there a connection between resource need of individual actors and enhanced cooperation? The challenge is however the pooling of complementary resources to create capacity convergence in order to avoid competition and increase the problem solving competence of individual actors and the system as such.

Strategic Interests
Under this heading papers analyse the extent of strategic convergence. We will first be analysing which security interests and strategic security doctrines have been developed by various actors as well as examine areas in which there is a lack of strategic reasoning. The main line of inquiry is to analyse to which degree cooperation requires a minimum of shared strategic thinking or whether actors can cooperate well even without a common strategy developed? The focus will be both on security doctrines of institutional actors such as the AU or EU but also on lead-states within these organizations. Papers are encouraged to explore if incoherent or incompatible strategic interests or the absence of these bear the potential to derail the effective use of security instruments and thus might fracture the emerging African security architecture. Do congruent security interests always lead to more cooperation?

System and individual actor effectiveness may also rest on the degree of convergence of security cultures at sub-regional, inter-regional and global level. Security cultures are based on the perception of appropriate behaviour which has been constructed within security communities. Here, for example, the securitisation of conflicts or how an actor deems it adequate to respond to a crisis determines how resources are allocated and can be exchanged between actors. In this context we are interested in what different security cultures actors have developed, examining how these cultures overlap, intersect or inspire each other. While it is logical to assume that the greater the match between different security cultures the higher the chances of effective resource use, it is also logical to assume that inter-institutional learning benefits from cultural variance, as differences can be a source for more cooperation.

Contributions to the workshop are required to address at least one of the above analytical categories in a case-study style analysis. Beyond the conceptual orientation, papers are selected on the basis of regional and organisational spread in order to allow for a most representative coverage of African regions and inter-institutional relationships outside Africa.

Please submit your abstracts to:

Conference conveners:

Prof. Anthoni van Nieuwkerk (University of the Witwatersrand)
Dr. Marie Gibert (Nottingham Trent University)
Dr. Annemarie Peen Rodt (University of Southern Denmark)
Dr. Malte Brosig (University of the Witwatersrand)

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