Constructivist Approach to Gambia-Senegal Relations: Analysis of the ‘Two States, One People, and the ‘Nearby Enemy’ Discourse

Muhammed Lenn


This is a study of the foreign policy construction of Senegal by the Gambia under the presidency of Yahya A.J.J Jammeh who served as a military ruler of the Gambia from 1994-1996 and president from 1996-2016. The study relied on speeches, statements and communiqués contained in videos, audios and text as its source of data for analysis. Using Constructivism as a general theory and discourse analysis as a framework of analysis, the work argues that the Gambia’s foreign policy with its neighboring country, Senegal was built upon two main social constructs, namely ‘two states, one people’ and  ‘nearby enemy’. Despite changes in the leadership in Senegal, it is argued that the Gambian leadership consistently constructed Senegal in the same way during the period under study. The paper concluded that these two constructs explained the often contradictory tense and cool relationships between the two countries. While the ‘two states, one people’ construct was used to argue for and build cordial relationships, ‘the nearby enemy’ construct was invoked to condemned Senegal and justify strained relations.

Keywords: Constructivism, Enemy, Foreign policy, Gambia, People, Relations, Senegal

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/89-04

Publication date: January 31st 2021

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ISSN (Paper)2224-574X ISSN (Online)2224-8951

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