The ‘Woman-in-Conflict’ at the UN Security Council: a Subject of Practice


Cook, Sam. 2016. “The ‘Woman-in-Conflict’ at the UN Security Council: A Subject of Practice.” International Affairs 92 (2): 353–72. 


Author: Sam Cook


Since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the woman-in- conflict 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. 


Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, International Organizations, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2016

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