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Tomkinson, Joanne (2024) 'Origination and Africa's International Relations: Gatemaking and Airport Politics in Ethiopia and Ghana.' Third World Quarterly, 45 (1). pp. 133-150.

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This article explores Africa’s shifting international relations through two important international gateways to the continent: Kotoka International Airport in Accra and Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. Case studies drawing on archival, fieldwork and secondary data examine the history and development of both airports, and find these gates represent a fruitful but neglected vantage point for understanding Africa’s shifting connections to the wider world. Theoretically, whilst the article affirms the value of using such critical nodal points – or ‘gates’ – to understand the international dimensions of African politics, it also highlights the limits of extant concepts such as ‘gatekeeping’ and the typology of the ‘gatekeeper state’. The article instead advances an alternative approach which it calls ‘gatemaking’ to enhance our understanding of Africa’s international relations by looking at how gates such as airports help to make (and remake) Africa’s place in the world (rather than looking only at how gates shape domestic state forms, as in the gatekeeper mould). Evident to different degrees in both airports, this concept foregrounds Africa as a place that both originates and shapes key dimensions of the international, contributing to emerging debates in critical approaches to international relations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa; international relations; state building; global South; globalization
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 01436597
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 26 May 2023 11:15
Funders: European Union

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