The spaces of intervention for Mali and Guinea-Bissau


This article focuses on interventions by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States in Guinea-Bissau and Mali. In the literature, these are often approached in a ‘top-down’ manner, focusing on formal institutions, not accounting for the complex dynamics in and around conflict intervention. This article argues that adopting space as an analytical lens allows new ways to address these issues. It highlights how interventions by different actors and their interactions are influenced by spatial perceptions and framings, which result in the making of different ‘spaces of intervention’ through different practices. The two described here, ‘scaling’ and ‘establishing reach’, enable strategic and continuous formation and negotiation of spaces for action, according to actors’ needs and interests. Thus, shedding light on specific actors and their practices, the article contributes to a better understanding of the complex dynamics in conflict intervention in West Africa.

South African Journal of International Affairs