Exploring the ‘African international’
Antonia Witt, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)
This panel explores the emergence and effects of the ‘African international’, that is transnational orders and structured relations within the African continent itself. Drawing on various empirical examples, our aim is to investigate the value-added of the ‘African international’ as analytical concept, its empirical significance and explanatory weight.
Africa’s international relations are often conceived of in terms of relations
with a world external to Africa, that is African actors’ links to former colonial powers, global institutions, and so-called rising actors in global governance. Such a perspective neglects that Africa’s international relations also include the development of structured relations within the continent itself. These structured relations challenge the dominant way scholarship usually imagines ‘the international’, as singular, global space dominated by powerful, often Western actors. Against this background, this panel explores the emergence and effects of the ‘African international’, that is emerging transnational entanglements and orders within the African continent itself; African international relations of Africa in Africa.Such entanglements have recently gained in prominence: for instance in the set-up of political institutions beyond the state such as regional and sub-regional organizations; in the emergence of transnational identities, symbolisms, knowledge regimes and legal spaces; and in the works of transnational activism and civil society.
The aim of this panel is to explore the emergence of such structured relations and their consequences for the social and political life on the African continent. We want to investigate the value-added of the ‘African international’ as analytical concept, its empirical significance and explanatory weight. This also includes investigating the boundary drawing practices that make the African international (appear) ‘African’ in the first place as well as how the various actors, practices, and knowledges constituting the African international are themselves embedded and linked to wider transnational and global processes. Concretely, we invite papers that explore inter alia the workings and ordering effects of regional and sub-regional institutions and other ‘beyond-the-state-formations’, the political and social imaginations of ‘Africa’ underpinning such formations, how access to the African international is regulated and distributed, as well
as which actors are able to claim the African international and in whose name.