Situating Agency, Embodied Practices and Norm Implementation in Peacekeeping Training


Holmes, Georgina. 2019. "Situating Agency, Embodied Practices and Norm Implementation in Peacekeeping Training." International Peacekeeping 26 (1): 55-84.

Author: Georgina Holmes


Applying a Bourdieusian feminist practice theory approach to the study of norm implementation, this article introduces a fourth level of analysis, the embodied subject who is expected to be governed by peacekeeping norms. It does so by examining the training experiences of Rwandan tactical-level female military peacekeepers deployed in mix-gender contingents to UNAMID. It is argued that the pre-deployment training space is a field of norm contestation and negotiation, wherein gendered peacekeeper subject positions and gendered peacekeeping labouring practices are constructed and performed. The research findings suggest that by partially complying with the UN’s gender mainstreaming norms, the Rwanda Defence Force strengthens the military’s gender protection norms and establishes the sexual division of labour of the mission area. Trained to perform a scripted Rwandan female subject position, some women find they are not adequately prepared for the more challenging situations they find themselves in when working in multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations and devise alternative, informal training practices to better equip themselves prior to deployment. The case study draws on 65 depth-interviews with Rwandan military personnel, trainers and external consultants and non-participatory observations of field exercises.

Keywords: peacekeeping, gender, pre-deployment training, norms, international practice theory

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Mainstreaming, Livelihoods, Peacekeeping Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2019

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