Looking for the ‘Post’ in ‘Post-Conflict’: Challenges to Feminist Analysis and Practice

Ruth Jacobson

March 24, 2011

UMass Boston

The term ‘post-conflict’ is now commonplace in the lexicon of security studies and peace building. In its earlier stages, this term reflected the ways in which the previous standard use of ‘post war’ had become inadequate to reflect post-Cold War trajectories. To this extent, it has been a useful tool for a gender analysis; for example, it allows an examination of the fluidity of boundaries around what constitutes ‘war.’ Ruth Jacobson argues, however, that more recent usage has expanded so far beyond its earlier relevance that it now serves to obscure rather than clarify salient features of the ‘post-conflict’ period, particularly around models of state building and governance within the project of ‘liberal peace.’  She goes on to demonstrate the conceptual challenges for feminist security analysis, and the constraints on practitioners in operational agencies.

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