Ordering by Default: The Politics and Power of Post-Coup Interventions in Africa

The Global Norms team congratulates Antonia Witt for successfully defending her PhD dissertation at the Universität Lepizig earlier this week. Antonia’s dissertation asks what it means to return a country to constitutional order – and how the precise meaning of that formula is negotiated in practice. To answer this question, the thesis reconstructs how political order is (re-)negotiated after coup d’états in member states of the African Union. Starting from the observation that the African Union has adopted an ‘anti-coup norm’ in 2000, the author shows that this norm has hardly been applied in standardized ways, but leaves much room for maneuver instead. In her detailed reconstruction of international responses to the 2001/02 and 2009 coups in Madagascar, Antonia reveals the complex structures, dynamics and consequences of order-making as well as its internationalization over time. She argues that the actors involved in negotiating political order are manifold; that the process of re-making political order is often incoherent; and that it does not only – or even primarily – contribute to solving existing social conflicts, but also creates new ones. Seen in this way, the anti-coup norm is neither simply a path to ‘democratization from above’, nor a strategic device for dictators to cling to power, nor an institutional machinery to objectively ‘return a country to constitutional order’. It is, as the dissertation convincingly shows, the basis for complex international interventions in which the contours of political order are re-negotiated both within the respective polity as well as internationally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *