‘Speak of the devil and he shall appear’: unpacking the practices of security brokers in West Africa

Par Adib Bencherif et Maxime Ricard

This study investigates the intermediaries or brokers who participate in the constitution, negotiation, and production of peace and security policies in West Africa. These security brokers possess social and knowledge capital, making them the preferred interlocutors of international actors, institutions, and researchers to produce security knowledge to inform policy. Thus, this article seeks to explain how these security brokers interact with and shape the construction of a security assemblage in West Africa. Based on three ethnographic sites in Bamako (Mali), Niamey (Niger) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast), social trajectories of these intermediaries of securitization processes allow us to understand how material and symbolic resources are attracted. Security brokers oscillate between instrumentalist, pragmatic, and reflexive stances toward the (re)production of security practices promoted by (trans)national institutions and actors. Just like any international institutions or actors, they can either participate to the (re)production or challenge the premise of the security assemblage.

25 juin 2023
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