Marking Failure, Making Space: Feminist Interventions in Security Council Policy


Cook, Sam. 2019. “Marking Failure, Making Space: Feminist Interventions in Security Council Policy.” International Affairs 95 (6): 1289-306.

Author: Sam Cook


Feminist interventions in international politics are, more often than not, understood (and visible) as interventions in relation to policy documents. These policies—in this case the United Nations Security Council's resolutions on Women, Peace and Security—often feature as the end point of feminist advocacy efforts or as the starting point for feminist analysis and critique. In this article the author responds to the provocations throughout Marysia Zalewski's work to think (and tell) the spaces of international politics differently, in this case by working with the concept of feminist failure as it is produced in feminist policy critique. Inspired by Zalewski's Feminist International Relations: exquisite corpse, the article explores the material and imaginary spaces in which both policies and critique are produced. It picks up and reflects upon a narrative refrain recognizable in feminist critiques on Women, Peace and Security policy—that we must not make war safe for women—as a way to reflect on the inevitability of failure and the ostensible boundaries between theory and practice. The author takes permission from Zalewski's creative interventions and her recognition of the value of the ‘detritus of the everyday’—here a walk from New York's Grand Central Station to the UN Headquarters, musings on the flash of a particular shade of blue, and the contents of a footnoted acknowledgement, begin to trace an international political space that is produced through embodied and quotidian practice.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Peace and Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2019

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