Trans-State Security Complexes and Security Governance in West Africa

African Security Review

Author/s (editor/s):

Babatunde Obamamoye

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Taylor & Francis

Babatunde F. Obamamoye, ‘Trans-State Security Complexes and Security Governance in West Africa’, African Security Review, 29(2) 2020: 152-174.

Security discourse in contemporary times has brought to the fore the relevance of regions as indispensable loci for analysing, understanding and managing security challenges across many spaces of the globe. In the process of deepening this discursive analysis of regional security, scholars have developed a few concepts. Two of these analytical concepts are ‘security complexes’ and ‘regional security governance’. However, extant literature rarely examines the conceptual and empirical interplay between these two constructs. It is on this note that this article asks: how are security complexes and security governance impacting one another? To what extent could their pragmatic interactions shape the choice of regional organisations that will coordinate joint security undertakings? It argues that while it is the formation of security complexes from a trans-state perspective that will generate the necessity for regional security governance, the dissolution of such a complex equally demands an effective orchestration of regional security governance. The article also contends that the spatial scope of a trans-state security complex is a central factor for determining the appropriateness of the regional organisation that will coordinate its security governance project. It specifically draws on empirical evidence from West Africa to bolster these arguments.

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