Title

Exiles and Arms: The Territorial Practices of State Making and War Diffusion in Post-Cold War Africa

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Territory, Politics, Governance

Volume

1

Issue

2

Publisher

Routledge

Publication Date

8-25-2013

First Page

183

Last Page

202

Abstract

The end of the Cold War resulted in a wave of political change among post-colonial states in Africa. Following these political transformations was nearly two decades of war in central Africa (the so-called Africa’s World War). Building on a notion of effective sovereignty regimes, or the relationships between central state authority and state territoriality, this paper examines the territorial strategies and practices associated with the transitions to multiparty politics that enabled the space/time spread of war in the region. The attempts of existing regimes to create polities capable of returning them to power through elections gave rise to territorial practices focused on supporting exile and refugee groups that actively undermined the sovereignty of neighboring states. These territorial practices, with their roots in the democratization of single-party states, directly contributed to nearly two decades of war and human suffering in the region, while ending the wars required altogether new territorial forms of cooperation between states. This example illustrates the diverse territorial practices of states and extends the idea of sovereignty regimes by showing the implications involved in the attempts to change the forms of effective sovereignty in certain geopolitical contexts.

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