Security Challenges
Volume 14, No.2 (2018)

Gender, UN Peacebuilding, and the Politics of Space- Locating Legitimacy

Building on an extensive range of publications in the realm of gender politics and critical security studies, Shepherd’s latest offering Gender, UN Peacebuilding, and the Politics of Space: Locating Legitimacy provides a stimulating analysis of UN peacebuilding commissions and the way they reproduce power relations in relation to gender, women and civil society. As noted by Shepherd, it is unusual for discourse-theoretical projects to include interview material, however, its inclusion provides insights across various UN staff, activists and analysts involved in peacebuilding activities. Such interview data is treated as a ‘discursive artefact’ of similar status to the policy documents elsewhere analysed within the discussions. Throughout the book, Shepherd provides a post-structural feminist analysis of the way in which power relations have a profound effect on peacebuilding initiatives. Shepherd draws on country-specific configurations within the current agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, including references to discourse and practice in Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The discussion questions these initiatives’ ability to make meaningful change when bound by the reproduction of such power relations. In doing so, the book provides key contributions to the scholarship on peacebuilding and the gendered logics and practices within it.

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