Assemblages of Intervention: Politics, Security, and Drug Trafficking in West Africa

Title: Assemblages of Intervention: Politics, Security, and Drug Trafficking in West Africa
Authors: Sandor, Adam
Date: 2016
Abstract: International actors from International Organizations, Western States, Think tanks, risk management consultancies, NGOs, and private security companies understand borderless threats like clandestine migration, drug trafficking, and international terrorism to emanate from ‘ungoverned spaces’ in the Global South. The Sahelian sub-region of West Africa has taken a prominent place in global discourses of insecurity and borderless threats. These non-traditional security concerns have been translated into an expanding array of transnational governance initiatives that bring together the activities and practices of a wide range of state and non-state, global and local, and public and private actors in efforts to deal with the challenges that borderless threats are assumed to present. This dissertation argues that attempts to govern drug trafficking in the Sahel are producing global assemblages of security intervention: shifting, multi-scalar, institutional orders that reorient and reconfigure the security practices, knowledges, mentalities, technologies, and priorities of multiple sets of governance actors across disparate jurisdictional spaces. The effects of the transnationalized security governance and capacity-building initiatives that unfold in simultaneous, connected spaces of intervention amplify and alter positions of social power and prominence in local fields of conflict. Through the practices and projects of global security experts and capacity-builders in the Sahel, new forms of international capital are introduced and become realized in local settings that intensify rivalries between local, national, and regional security institutions over the question of the recognition of their authority over security matters. In their relationships with international capacity-builders and other global actors, sets of local recipients of security governance interventions practice forms of extraversion whereby their structural positions of dependence and differentials of power and resources are leveraged to accumulate forms of international capital that they then use to dominate the fields of power in which they are embedded. The dissertation examines three components of the assemblages of security intervention in West Africa: the effects of the transnational field of capacity- building in the Sahelian interior; the establishment and operation of the UNODC Airport Communications drug interdiction project (AIRCOP) at Dakar’s International Airport, and the joint UNODC/World Customs Organization Container Control Programme operating at the port of Dakar. It advances new empirical material from these case studies, and makes contributions to debates in three sub-fields of International Relations: critical security studies, global governance, and international statebuilding.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -