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  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Contributors

    922
  • IA thumbnailInternational affairs

    Book reviews index

    922
  • International affairs

    The futures past of the Women, Peace and Security agenda

    The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda has developed at the United Nations over the course of the past 15 years, and there have been critical engagements with it for nearly as long. In this article, we first take stock of the operationalization of the WPS agenda, reviewing its implementation across a number of sectors. In the second section, we expose the tensions that have marked the WPS agenda from the start. With others, we argue that there has been a narrowing of the agenda’s original scope, reducing it to the traditional politics of security rather than reimagining what security means. We highlight this reduction primarily through an analysis of the tension between the ‘participation’ and ‘protection’ pillars of the agenda. Further, we argue that the WPS agenda faces a current challenge in terms of the actors entrusted with it. Although in some ways involving civil society, the consolidations and implementation of WPS principles at the national and international levels have become increasingly state-centric. Third, we imagine some possible futures of the agenda, from a trajectory characterized by increasing marginalization or even irrelevance, to new avenues like the emergent, albeit tentative, ‘Men, Peace and Security’ agenda. We close with an argument for a revival of the WPS agenda beyond a fixation on states, beyond a narrow heteronormative or essentialist focus on the ‘Women’ of the WPS resolutions, and moving towards the radical reimagining of security as peace that inspired the original architects of these important resolutions.
    922

    Paul Kirby and Laura J. Shepherd

  • International affairs

    Reintroducing women, peace and security

    This special issue of International Affairs, launched on International Women’s Day 2016, explores the potential and limits of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, a global policy architecture supporting gender equality and today a significant reference point in the management and resolution of, as well as recovery from, violent conflict. The Women, Peace and Security (conventionally abbreviated to WPS) agenda was formally inaugurated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in October 2000. Across 18 operative paragraphs, the Council appealed for the greater participation of women in decision-making in national, regional and international institutions; their further involvement in peacekeeping, field operations, mission consultation and peace negotiations; increased funding and other support for UN bodies’ gender work; enhanced state commitments to women’s and girls’ human rights and their protection under international law; the introduction of special measures against sexual violence in armed conflict; and the consideration of women’s and girls’ needs in humanitarian, refugee, disarmament and post-conflict settings. It is our hope that this collection will forge a connection between the best of academic reflection on the agenda (via original research, political analysis and interrogating key terms and assumptions) and the concrete dilemmas of implementation (for participants, practitioners and activists). Fifteen years on from Resolution 1325, and after considerable progress in the recognition of gender issues, we offer our collective assessment of the vagaries of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, the better to understand the coming fortunes of the ‘the gender perspective’ on war and peace.
    922

    Paul Kirby and Laura J. Shepherd

  • International affairs

    Gender as national interest at the UN Security Council

    The United Nations Security Council has often been identified as a key actor responsible for the uneven trajectory of the international Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. It is, however, the Council members—who also seek to advance their national interest at this intergovernmental forum—that are pivotal in the Council’s deliberations and shape its policies. Yet, little attention has been paid to this aspect of deliberative politics at the Council in feminist scholarship on WPS. This article seeks to address this gap in the literature. It notes that gender has increasingly become part of foreign policy interests of UN member states, as evidenced by practices such as invocation of ‘women’s rights’ and ‘gender equality’ in broader international security policy discourse. The article demonstrates that this national interest in gender has featured in WPS-related developments at the Security Council. Using specific illustrations, it examines three sets of member states: the permanent and non-permanent members as well as non-members invited to take part in Council meetings. The main argument of this article relates to highlighting member states’ interests underpinning their diplomatic activities around WPS issues in the Security Council, with the aim to present a fuller understanding of political engagements with UNSCR 1325, the first WPS resolution, in its institutional home.
    922

    Soumita Basu

  • International affairs

    The ‘war on terror’ and extremism: assessing the relevance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda

    Recognizing the critique of sexual essentialism in the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, this article moves beyond this familiar narrative to address the narrowness of conflict frames that have to date been engaged by the WPS agenda. The events of 11 September 2001 brought new urgency and vibrancy to state action in the realm of counterterrorism. This momentum was illustrated both by the response of national legal systems and by more concerted efforts to achieve multilateral and multilevel counterterrorism cooperation on the international level. Notably, terrorism and counterterrorism have long been of only marginal interest to mainstream feminist legal theorists. Until recently concerted analytical feminist scrutiny has been missing in the assessment of terrorism, radicalism and counter terrorism discourses. This article addresses the lack of attention to terrorism, counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) initiatives in the WPS mandate and its consequences for mainstreaming gender interests in foundational aspects of peace and security practice. Recent normative augmentations including UNSCR 2242 and the amplified mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee to include gender considerations are assessed. The article argues that these moves to include gender come late, and on the terms set by security-minded states. The late attention to gender in counterterrorism leaves little capacity to produce an inclusive and reimagined feminist agenda addressing the causes conducive to the production of terrorism and the costs to women of counterterrorism strategies. This pessimistic assessment warns of the pitfalls of exclusion and inclusion in the new security regimes that have been fashioned post 9/11 by states.
    922

    Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

  • International affairs

    Gendering normative power Europe: lessons of the Women, Peace and Security agenda

    The European Union is seen to operate at the international level by promoting ideas and values, rather than by exerting military or economic power. As a gender actor, the EU has played a key role in the development of formal equality, which is presented as a foundational principle of European integration. It therefore follows that normative power Europe should seek to promote these values in external affairs. This article interrogates the role of the EU as a normative gender actor in relation to its implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions. Documentary analysis will be supplemented by a detailed assessment of speeches and public statements about the role of the EU as a gender actor in external affairs. This data will be used to assess whether there is a disjuncture between the dominant narrative about gender equality as a fundamental value of the EU and the actions of the organization. It will also allow us to assess whether gender mainstreaming is a tool for public diplomacy or has made a significant change to the way the external relations agenda is formulated and implemented. Additionally, the article will draw attention to the institutional obstacles to the EU performing a role as a gender actor in external affairs. It identifies a critical tension between framing the WPS resolutions as an extension of the EU’s equality on the one hand, and understanding that gender mainstreaming is a mere policy tool in international affairs. In doing so, it highlights how competing institutional demands can ultimately undermine core values (e.g. equality) when they are used instrumentally.
    922

    Roberta Guerrina and Katharine A. M. Wright

  • International affairs

    Queering women, peace and security

    The aim of the eight Women, Peace and Security (WPS) United Nations Security Council resolutions, beginning with UNSCR 1325 in 2000, is to involve women in peacebuilding, reconstruction and gender mainstreaming efforts for gendered equality in international peace and security work. However, the resolutions make no mention of masculinity, femininity or the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) population. Throughout the WPS architecture the terms ‘gender’ and ‘women’ are often used interchangeably. As a result, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) tracking and monitoring fail to account for individuals who fall outside a heteronormative construction of who qualifies as ‘women’. Those vulnerable to insecurity and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity remain largely neglected by the international peace and security community. Feminist security studies and emerging queer theory in international relations provide a framework to incorporate a gender perspective in WPS work that moves beyond a narrow, binary understanding of gender to begin to capture violence targeted at the LGBTQ population, particularly in efforts to address SGBV in conflict-related environments. The article also explores the ways in which a queer security analysis reveals the part heteronormativity and cisprivilege play in sustaining the current gap in analysis of gendered violence.
    922

    Jamie J. Hagen

  • International affairs

    Decolonizing branded peacebuilding: abjected women talk back to the Finnish Women, Peace and Security agenda

    This article interrogates the sexual ideology of Finnish peacebuilding, the country’s foreign policy brand and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda by examining the experiences of women ’written out of history’. Using the method of ’writing back’ I juxtapose the construction of a gender-friendly global peacebuilder identity with experiences in Finland after the Lapland War (1944–45) and in post-conflict Aceh, Indonesia (1976–2005). Although being divided temporarily and geographically, these two contexts form an intimate part of the abjected and invisible part of the Finnish WPS agenda, revealing a number of colonial and violent overtones of postwar reconstruction: economic and political postwar dystopia of Skolt Sámi and neglect of Acehnese women’s experiences in branding the peace settlement and its implementation as a success. Jointly they critique and challenge both the gender/women-friendly peacebuilder identity construction of Finland and locate the sexual ideology of WPS to that of political economy and post-conflict political, legal and economic reforms. The article illustrates how the Finnish foreign policy brand has constructed the country as a global problemsolver and peacemaker, drawing on the heteronormative myth of already achieved gender equality on the one hand and, on the other, tamed asexual female subjectivity: the ‘good woman’ as peacebuilder or victim of violence. By drawing attention to violent effects of the global WPS agenda demanding decolonialization, I suggest that the real success of the WPS agenda should be evaluated by those who have been ‘written out’.
    922

    Marjaana Jauhola

  • International affairs

    The ‘woman-in-conflict’ at the UN Security Council: a subject of practice

    Since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the woman-inconflict has emerged as a central figure in the discourse of the UNSC Women, Peace and Security policy community. She is an ever-present referent in discussions, the person in whose name critique is launched or action demanded. This figure is a representation of the needs and interests of the uncountable, faceless and nameless women affected by and living through war; a representation that takes place through imbuing her with particular meaning or characteristics. These meanings shape how the figure is understood in Women, Peace and Security discourse, which, in turn, constructs the horizons of possibility for both current and future policy and its implementation. This article explores how this figure is produced as a subject through layers of representation and is deeply embedded in the practices and relationships of power in the policy community. It suggests that accounting for these will offer an opportunity for feminist advocates to engage in this institutional space in more considered and effective ways.
    922

    Sam Cook

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