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Gender, UN Peacebuilding, and the Politics of SpaceLocating Legitimacy$

Laura J. Shepherd

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982721

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199982721.001.0001

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The Concept and Practice of Peacebuilding at the UN and Beyond

The Concept and Practice of Peacebuilding at the UN and Beyond

(p.37) Chapter 2 The Concept and Practice of Peacebuilding at the UN and Beyond
Gender, UN Peacebuilding, and the Politics of Space

Laura J. Shepherd

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines what the author thinks the United Nations thinks it thinks about peacebuilding, investigating the different ways in which peacebuilding is represented as both concept and practice in the corpus of data. The author argues that UN peacebuilding discourse functions to (re)produce a narrow construction of peacebuilding as statebuilding, which is bound by constrictive logics of both gender and space that ascribe to the (notionally sovereign) state a degree of power, authority, and legitimacy, but ultimately leave undisturbed the hierarchies operative in the international system that afford legitimacy to the “international,” as a spatial and conceptual domain.

Keywords:   sovereignty, United Nations, statebuilding, peacebuilding, international

Before examining what a “gendered approach” to peacebuilding might mean, or what it might look like for an organization to incorporate a “gender perspective” into peacebuilding activities, it is interesting first to explore the constitution of peacebuilding as both a concept and a field of practice within UN discourse. This is not to assume, of course, that the discursive construction of peacebuilding can somehow be separated from, or operates independently of, gendered power: as I show in this chapter, there are evident, if sometimes subtle, logics of gender structuring discourse on peacebuilding even when “gender” is not mentioned in the excerpt under immediate investigation. In the analysis presented here, I identify seven facets of the construction of peacebuilding in UN discourse, drawn from the corpus of documents I have curated and the interviews I conducted over the duration of the project. Variously, these constitute peacebuilding in terms of its process, its complexity, and its priorities, and carefully position the drivers, the stakeholders, and the owners of peacebuilding activities in relation to both the practices of peacebuilding and each other. Ultimately, I argue that UN peacebuilding discourse (re)produces peacebuilding as statebuilding, in a discourse organized by logics of gender and space that fetishize masculinist authority associated with both the sovereignty of the state and the authority of the international community.

(p.38) The Teleology of Peacebuilding

A Burundian proverb says: “Even if there is no rooster to sing at dawn, the day will dawn.” The day will undoubtedly dawn, but will people also wake up on time? . . . peacebuilding has made impressive progress in Burundi, but a critical point has been reached requiring a higher level of commitment from both sides. The rooster would do well to continue crowing for some time more.1

The first articulation of peacebuilding as a practice, distinct from other forms of peace and security governance, is usually credited to former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali. In his 1992 Agenda for Peace, he proposed that, having overcome the “immense ideological barrier” that characterized the era of the so-called Cold War, the organization must

stand ready to assist in peacebuilding in its different contexts; rebuilding the institutions and infrastructures of nations torn by civil war and strife; and building bonds of peaceful mutual benefit among nations formerly at war.2

The concept of peacebuilding has its origins in the works of Johan Galtung,3 who “envisioned it as a means of preventing incipient violent conflicts by addressing the root causes of poverty, political repression and uneven distribution of resources.”4 Galtung’s was a structural analysis and politics, aimed at deep societal transformation. In this way, early scholarship on peacebuilding presents something of a teleological approach to peacebuilding,5 in that the end goal or purpose assumed to be guiding peacebuilding-related activities was the movement of “a given population from a condition of extreme vulnerability and dependency to one of self-sufficiency and well-being.”6

(p.39) These ideas of movement, transition, and transformation continue to manifest in UN peacebuilding discourse. The effect of these dominant representations is to suggest a linearity to peacebuilding as a set of activities. There is explicit recognition within UN peacebuilding discourse that “peacebuilding is not a linear process,”7 and a direct critique has been leveled at the fact that “a linear concept in which peacekeeping precedes peacebuilding continues to prevail in the [Security] Council,”8 which is in turn presented as an obstacle or hindrance to successful peacebuilding. The construction here is of a linear logic of peacebuilding restricting the possibility of success or “sustainability” of peacebuilding efforts.

Across various different sites, this same representation is evident. The Working Group on Lessons Learned, for example, notes that

[t]he sequencing of priorities must be carefully considered. This does not refer to a linear sequence where peacebuilding follows peacekeeping and humanitarian activities and is followed later by development; peacebuilding is a comprehensive exercise that starts from the earliest post-conflict period and embraces all these areas. It refers, rather, to the delicate balancing act required to establish a sequence of activities that will best build sustainable peace.9

This construction was reinforced by one of the research participants with whom I spoke, who commented not only on the lack of linearity, but also on the way in which peacebuilding-related outcomes are difficult to measure. On this view, progression along a set pathway or toward a specified goal is similarly hard to determine, and this is seen to differentiate peacebuilding from other kinds of peace and security interventions: “peacebuilding is not a series of activities and tasks, the culture is different. Peace keeping are [sic] measurable tasks that you have to undertake.”10

Despite these few clear articulations of the limitations of a linear approach to peacebuilding, the representation of peacebuilding as linear prevails in the documents that I analyzed. There are multiple articulations of peacebuilding as a process, which reinforces a teleological view as it brings with it connotations of orderly sequences of events in service of a (p.40) particular end. For example, in the documentation of the Country-Specific Configurations of Burundi, Central African Republic, and Liberia, the language of “process” appears frequently and consistently over time.11 The articulation of peacebuilding as a process is exemplified in the following passage taken from the documentation pertaining to Liberia:

Many aspects of the peacebuilding process in the country have moved forward. Some others though, have not advanced at the pace required by a complex post-conflict context. It is now time to consolidate and build on the results achieved so far and accelerate the peacebuilding process.12

The use of “advancement” and “acceleration” here implies forward motion and a preference for rapid progression within a predetermined “peacebuilding process.”

While there is acknowledgment of the “multidimensional” nature of peacebuilding as a process,13 to which I return later, there is nonetheless a dominant configuration of peacebuilding as a process (albeit a complex process) through which states can progress toward a fixed end or goal. Despite efforts to retain some fluidity and flexibility in the construction of peacebuilding, its persistent representation as a process, “path,” and “continuum” reinforces the association between peacebuilding and linearity.14

The effects of this construction are, potentially, twofold: first, if peacebuilding is seen as a linear, teleological process, and there are individuals or communities who felt disenfranchised or marginalized during the planning of the process, these feelings of disenfranchisement and marginalization are likely to persist and may even be exacerbated over the subsequent years of peacebuilding efforts. Second, the construction of peacebuilding as a process could hinder flexible and rapid responses to emergent problems (p.41) within the community or state. If the governance of peacebuilding assumes that the process of peacebuilding, while fluid and complex, is fixed, rather than comprising an aggregation of diverse and sometimes contradictory measures and activities, this can make responding to unexpected outcomes more challenging. Simply put, if peacebuilding is represented as a process (however many caveats are in place regarding the complexity of this process), and operations within that process stall, fail, or produce unanticipated adverse effects, the tendency may be to assume that peacebuilding is not working, rather than examine the individual operation or activity within the broader peacebuilding framework. For these reasons, the representation of peacebuilding as a process could hamper peacebuilding efforts rather than facilitate positive outcomes.

One of the research participants with whom I spoke illustrated this tension in the articulation of peacebuilding as both a process and a sometimes-disparate set of activities:

Vis-à-vis the longer-term vision of how those activities lead to a bigger picture . . . every activity and task that starts now we should always take a step back regularly and find out if those are going to lead in that direction or not. And that is not what has been happening and that’s why the fragmentation. . . . Hence, you are not actually working towards a bigger objective or a longer-term objective. That’s peacebuilding and that’s why I always try to say peacebuilding-related tasks and activities and not peacebuilding activities.15

This excerpt is interesting precisely because it is evidence of both a recognition that the UN’s approach to peacebuilding is largely linear (reinforced by the idea that “we” should “regularly” evaluate the extent to which activities are “lead[ing] in [the right] direction”) and yet simultaneously cannot be contained within a linear framework (reinforced by the emphasis on “peacebuilding-related tasks and activities”). This duality is a facet of the complexity of peacebuilding to which I now turn.

The Complexity of Peacebuilding

In view of the complexity of peacebuilding challenges and the multiplicity of actors, the need for coherence and partnerships cannot be overstated.16

(p.42) The opposite of the critique offered above, of course, also holds: the consistent representation of peacebuilding as a diverse set of activities rather than a “process” brings with it challenges as well: an assumed lack of unity, centralization, and vision or goal. The envisioning of positive peace was an integral part of some early interventions in peacebuilding research; Elise Boulding, for example, wrote extensively on both “imaging” and “imagining” peace,17 a peacebuilding technique that involves the development of a clear and concrete image of a peaceful and just society, toward the materialization of which peacebuilding-related efforts could be directed. The development of the image, as a unifying vision, was seen by Boulding and others as a necessary component of peacebuilding, without which peacebuilding activities could have no coherence—without which these disparate activities could not be hailed in the form of a process, as outlined earlier. In contemporary UN peacebuilding discourse, some of these elements feature in the construction of peacebuilding as a particular kind of process. The predication of peacebuilding as a complex process is evident across multiple sites of inquiry, and this is an important aspect of its articulation; it goes some way toward mediating the potential difficulties that its representation as a process brings into being.

Peacebuilding is consistently represented as “multidimensional,” “multifaceted,” and “complex.”18 The construction of peacebuilding as inherently complex can lead to contestation over whether it is possible to develop and work with an “accepted concept of peacebuilding.”19 Where a lack of certainty about the meaning of peacebuilding exists, given the complexity and multidimensionality of the concept, it is difficult not only to formulate a (p.43) plan for peacebuilding-related activities, but also to measure efficacy or success. As one of the research participants commented,

. . . as a system we’re really not very good at peacebuilding. I mean we’re not great, we’re not great at anything . . . we’re not great at peace keeping, but at least we sort of roughly speaking know what it is that we’re supposed to do, even if we don’t live up to it. Peacebuilding we all have a very unclear sense of what that means.20

In the same constellation of discursive elements, the complexity of peacebuilding is associated not only with shortcoming but also with risk and difficulty; involving “difficult trade-offs, tensions and dilemmas across issue areas which need to be reconciled,”21 “the peacebuilding path was always one of experimentation and risk-taking.”22 These articulations increase the likelihood that the complexity of peacebuilding could become both a rationale for, and a contributing factor to, its eventual failure: if peacebuilding is constructed as a risky, difficult, complex process that “we’re really not very good at,” securing resources and political will to engage in peacebuilding-related activities is likely to be difficult.

“Challenging” is frequently used as a predicate for peacebuilding, or as a description of peacebuilding-related activities: “peacebuilding is a process fraught with challenges that are typically context-specific”;23 “[t]he nature of peacebuilding makes it challenging to keep a right balance of the quick results we want and the long term nature of the peacebuilding process”;24 and “the fact that 30 per cent of countries relapsed into conflict within five years of a peace agreement demonstrated the tremendous challenges that remained for peacebuilding.”25 There is consistent representation of peacebuilding as a “challenging” process, and as a process that faces challenges.

“Challenging” is seemingly used as a synonym for “complex” in certain circumstances, with the fact that peacebuilding-related activities operate along multiple vectors and in multiple dimensions being represented as (p.44) a prima facie challenge; for example, the Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission made a comment in 2012 about “critical peacebuilding challenges, such as inclusive ownership and leadership; innovative approaches to nation-building and socio-economic development; and the strategic use of aid.”26 In this excerpt, various aspects of peacebuilding—which are complex concerns, to be sure—are identified as “challenges” from the outset, rather than intrinsic (and more neutral) “elements,” “dimensions,” or “activities.” The effect of this representational practice may be to allow for the possibility of failure: when an issue is depicted as a challenge, it is permissible for the challenge not to be met. The use of the word “challenge” also sets up a logic of competition, creating the impression that the actors involved might “rise to the challenge,” but that it would be understandable if they did not—if they found the challenge insurmountable. The same is not true of the depiction of peacebuilding “elements,” “dimensions,” or “activities.”

The complexity and multidimensionality of peacebuilding is used as a justification for the involvement of a wide range of actors; a former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission comments, for example, that “[i]n view of the complexity of peacebuilding challenges and the multiplicity of actors, the need for coherence and partnerships cannot be overstated,”27 and documentation from the Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration echoes this point, noting that “[p]eacebuilding was a multidimensional undertaking that required coherent and coordinated action by all the major players.”28 While multiple actors and stakeholders are recognized, per the statement made by the Working Group on Lessons Learned that “[e]xternal actors (including the United Nations, the international financial institutions, bilateral and multilateral donors, regional organizations, international NGOs and the private sector) play a critical role in peacebuilding,”29 these stakeholders are variously positioned within the discourse. The Commission, for example, is situated in a position of expertise and privilege, to which “political legitimacy and the capacity to convene others” is attributed.30 The power of the Commission is depicted as the solution (p.45) to the problem of complexity, inertia, and inaction: the Organizational Committee is asked to “consider better use of the Commission’s political weight and potential ‘convening power’ as it exercises its mandate to align relevant actors behind a common vision for peacebuilding.”31 Thus, there is a logic of space organizing the positioning of the various actors, such that the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission is given precedence and power over other entities, even as the contribution and expertise of such entities is repeatedly reaffirmed as valuable.

The range of expertise required is also a function of the specificity of peacebuilding as it is constructed in the discourse. Specificity manifests in two ways: peacebuilding varies depending on context, so there is much emphasis on there being “no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model.”32 Further, each in-country setting of peacebuilding activities is represented as sui generis, such that activities and approaches are tailored to the “unique” needs of each specific context.33 This is somewhat complicated by the insistence with which the UN peacebuilding architecture seeks to monitor “lessons learned” and draw generalizable conclusions about peacebuilding across these very specific—even unique—contexts.

Priorities in Peacebuilding

. . . in peace building you have much more sort of early recovery blurring into longer term development, you have rule of law reform, governors reform, justice reform, security sector reform, financing and planning for post conflict needs.34

In keeping with the articulation of uncertainty around peacebuilding, in terms of what “it” means (and I bracket “it” because the assumption of singularity lends weight to the idea of peacebuilding as a linear process, which I have critiqued earlier), there also appears to be a degree of inconsistency (p.46) with regard to the identification and prioritization of peacebuilding activities. Of course, given the context-specificity of peacebuilding, it is not unexpected that different priorities are emphasized in different contexts, and this is certainly the case. As mentioned in the preceding, there are six countries on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and there is a country-specific configuration (CSC) organized around each of these. The CSC in each case drives the development and monitoring of the agreements with the Peacebuilding Commission; these are variously known as the “Strategic Framework,” “Statement of Mutual Commitment,” and “Cooperation Framework” guiding peacebuilding-related activities. Table 2.1 shows the agreed-upon priority areas for peacebuilding in each of the countries on the agenda at the time of writing.

Table 2.1 Peacebuilding Priorities for Each Country on the Agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission


Peacebuilding Priorities


“. . . the key issues endangering peace in Burundi: (a) Promoting good governance, . . . ; (b) Completing the implementation of the ceasefire agreement . . . ; (c) Continuing the reform of the security sector and the disarmament of the civilian population, . . . ; (d) Ensuring equitable access to justice, promoting human rights, taking action against impunity and facilitating consensus on the modalities for the establishment and operation of the transitional justice mechanisms; (e) Finding sustainable solutions to the land issue and the socio-economic recovery . . . ; (f) Mainstreaming the gender perspective in the implementation of these priorities and throughout the peacebuilding process, while respecting the priorities of the national gender policy and Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security” (Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Burundi, PBC/1/BDI/4, July 30, 2007, para. 16).

Central African Republic

“During their consultations in October 2008 in New York, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Central African Government decided on three priority areas, on which they would focus their partnership efforts. These were: (a) security sector reform (including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration); (b) governance and the rule of law; and (c) the development poles” (Central Africa Republic Country-Specific Configuration, Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in the Central African Republic 2009–2011, PBC/3/CAF/7, June 9, 2009, para. 20).


“The peacebuilding priorities agreed between the Government and the Peacebuilding Commission are (a) the promotion of national reconciliation and unity, (b) security and defence sector reform, and (c) youth and women’s employment policy” (Guinea Country-Specific Configuration, Statement of Mutual Commitments on Peacebuilding in Guinea between the Government of Guinea and the Peacebuilding Commission, PBC/5/GUI/2, September 23, 2011, para. 9).


“. . . key priorities for the consolidation of peace in the country: (a) Elections and institutional support to the Electoral Commission; (b) Measures to jump-start the economy and rehabilitate the infrastructure, in particular in the energy sector; (c) Security and defence sector reform; (d) Strengthening of the justice sector, consolidating the rule of law and fighting against drug trafficking; (e) Public administration reform; (f) Social issues critical to peacebuilding” (Guinea-Bissau Country-Specific Configuration, Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau, PBC/3/GNB/3, October 2, 2008, para. 13).


“The peacebuilding priorities identified . . . are the rule of law, security sector reform and national reconciliation. . . . The regional dimension of the conflict and gender considerations will be appropriately incorporated into peacebuilding activities” (Liberia Country-Specific Configuration, Statement of Mutual Commitments on Peacebuilding in Liberia, PBC/4/LBR/2, November 16, 2010, para. 6).

Sierra Leone

“. . . priority areas . . . include: youth employment and empowerment, consolidation of democracy and good governance, justice and security sector reform, capacity-building, and energy-sector development. In addition, the subregional dimensions of peacebuilding and cross-cutting issues of gender equality and human rights are considered in the analysis of priorities for peacebuilding and the selection of commitments” (Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework, PBC/2/SLE/1, December 3, 2007, para. 9).

Although each is differently configured, with different ordering and emphasis, there is a degree of similarity across the various documents. All six of the frameworks identify security sector reform as a pressing concern, and tend to situate “social issues” (including “the gender perspective”) much lower down the list of focal points. This is in keeping with the analysis of peacebuilding practice presented by Michael Barnett, Hunjoon Kim, Madalene O’Donnell, and Laura Sitea in which the authors argue that “it is possible to identify three dimensions of postconflict peacebuilding—stability creation, restoration of state institutions, and addressing the socioeconomic dimensions of conflict. The first dimension is the desire to reinforce stability and discourage the combatants from returning to war.”35 Although articulating these three facets of peacebuilding as “dimensions” reinforces the indivisible nature of the whole, in both scholarly literature and UN peacebuilding discourse, security tends to be afforded significant emphasis within discussions of peacebuilding priorities.

There are many scholarly discussions about the ways in which security can be conceptualized or defined; the past decades have witnessed much debate over what security means, how it functions in political discourse, to what entities security applies or refers, and whether security is something that can (p.47) (p.48) be achieved or only sought.36 Within the discipline of International Relations, at least, the referent object of security policy and practice is conventionally assumed to be the (nation-) state.37 Similarly, in UN peacebuilding discourse, security is predominantly represented as state security, evident through the frequent articulation of “security” with other nouns or verbs associated with the state: discourse about “security and defence,”38 “national security,”39 “National Security Forces,” and “national institutions” capable of “deliver[ing] security”40 strengthens the association between security and the state.

(p.49) This particular construction of security within this particular discourse is reinforced by the positioning of security as part of “hard reconstruction” efforts in one of the documents I analyzed,41 distinct from “soft reconstruction” involving restorative justice and reconciliation. Hard/soft is a clearly gendered dichotomy, mapping onto the assumed binary between masculine and feminine; this interpretation is supported by the configuration of security (national security in particular) as a profoundly masculinized realm.42 The gendered logics structuring this discursive construction thus forge a series of associative chains: security-state-hard-(masculine/power) versus justice-community-soft-(feminine/weakness). The effects of these associations are not only to directly securitize (perhaps even militarize) peacebuilding, but also to locate peacebuilding-as-security within this “male and masculinist domain” of hard (state) power.43

In terms of textual priority, security is consistently (not always, but most frequently) mentioned first in the list of many things that peacebuilding involves. The indivisibility of security and development in peacebuilding is represented frequently, however, and most significantly at the level of Commission leadership: the existence of a “linkage between peacebuilding and development” is repeated by several Chairs, which suggests that there is a degree of institutional coherence around this configuration.44 The blurring of peacebuilding with development is evident on close examination of the discourse. At times, the two are seen as complementary, such that “peacebuilding would go hand-in-hand with long-term development,”45 which suggests that the two are discrete areas of operation, albeit “intrinsically linked.”46 At other times, however, even in the same country-specific (p.50) configuration, there appears to be evident frustration at the difficulty in teasing out the differences between the two: “There is still no shared understanding among partners in Burundi of what constitutes peacebuilding. While some consider that community recovery is an essential component of peacebuilding. Others see it as part of development.”47

Many of the predicates attached to peacebuilding are, at different times, attached to development in the documents I analyzed. Both development and peacebuilding are depicted as “long-term” endeavors, with one research participant commenting that “if development is a long-term issue, peacebuilding is even longer in terms of the transformative effects that we seek.”48 Similarly, the guiding principle of both development and peacebuilding is “sustainability.”49 “Sustainable” peace, security, or development seems to be associated with lasting social transformation and the formation of new and robust state institutions: “if the state is legitimate and the state is functioning and delivering on its mandates and responsibilities vis-à-vis the society, this is the way towards sustainable peace because the society is happy.”50 Sustainability is linked to “economic revitalization”51 and secure resources.52 Crucially, in reference to both peacebuilding and development, a necessary condition for sustainability is investment (of human, emotional, and economic resources) by stakeholders at all levels: “national, local, and at the grassroots.”53 While it is difficult to tease out the different peacebuilding priorities—and even to identify consistent differences in representation between peacebuilding and development in particular—it (p.51) is easy to identify the articulation of different spatial domains within UN peacebuilding discourse. Further, each of these spatial domains is differently located within the hierarchies of peacebuilding authority.

Another priority area falls under the broad rubric of “rule of law” or judicial reform. Peacebuilding has historically been viewed as related to but separate from transitional justice processes; as Wendy Lambourne has noted, “few researchers have analysed the relationship between justice, reconciliation and peacebuilding, and transitional justice has not generally been conceived as an analytical category for understanding sustainable peacebuilding.”54 This is despite the fact that there are organizing concepts common to both peacebuilding and transitional justice: the teleological nature of “transition” or transformation resonates strongly with the representation of peacebuilding in both UN discourse and academic scholarship examined earlier;55 and there is overlap between what has been termed “fourth generation” scholarship on peacebuilding and those approaches to transitional justice that operationalize a broad view of what justice entails, espousing programs that emphasize the “just distribution of political, social and economic resources, operate in a non-exclusionary manner, and export institutions, structures and norms that are welcomed and required by recipients.”56 Scholars have therefore begun to explore the ways in which elements of transitional justice (including reform of the judicial sector and societal justice mechanisms, reconciliation, equitable resource distribution, and the pursuit of formal justice for survivors of war crimes) are relevant to peacebuilding contexts—and the extent to which similar critiques can be raised against both sets of processes.57

The representation of peacebuilding in UN discourse echoes the imbrication of transitional justice mechanisms in peacebuilding practices, with elements of transitional justice often being framed as “key peacebuilding themes,”58 “priorities,”59 and among the “thematic or cross-cutting issues (p.52) relevant to peacebuilding.”60 Representations of elements of transitional justice in the discourse analyzed include access to justice (or simply “justice”), judicial reform, reconciliation, and “rule of law,” a legal principle demanding that “government discretion must be bound by standards that set effective limits on the exercise of that discretion.”61 This last is particularly interesting, situated as it is intellectually and conceptually within the “liberal peacebuilding” paradigm discussed earlier.

The imbrication of “rule of law” in liberal peacebuilding is supported by its articulation in the discourse with other liberal signifiers: it is associated with “good governance,” “human rights,” and “security.”62 These representations align with Michael Barnett’s description of the priorities of liberal peacebuilding:

The explicit goal of many of these operations is to create a state defined by the rule of law, markets, and democracy. This objective is informed by the belief that, to have legitimacy, the state must be organized around liberal-democratic principles, and that because liberal democracies are respectful of their societies and peaceful toward their neighbors, they are the foundation of a stable international order.63

I return to the question of state-building later; here, I simply wish to note that the preoccupations of the liberal peace in theory, as explained (p.53) by analysts such as Barnett and others, appear to be sustained in practice within the discourse I examine. According to the documentary and spoken discourse analyzed here, the key priorities of peacebuilding seem to be democratic institutions (also discussed further in what follows) supporting the “rule of law” and the creation of stable conditions (security) conducive to (economic) development.

“Internally Driven,” Nationally Owned

Peacebuilding must be internally driven. What is important in the end is not “our” results (what we achieve) but rather “their results” (what the country on the agenda does and achieve with what we do for them).64

In addition to extensive deliberation about peacebuilding “priorities,” and repeated acknowledgment—which itself has constitutive power—of the “complexity” of peacebuilding practice, there is a further dimension of the construction of peacebuilding worthy of exploration: the articulation of “national ownership.” Although spatiality organizes other associative chains elaborated upon earlier (in the way, for example, that “multiple stakeholders” are assumed to occupy different spatial domains65), it is in the articulation of “national ownership” that logics of space feature most prominently in UN peacebuilding discourse. The use of “national” as predicate evokes the concept of the nation as both a space and an entity; it brings to mind Benedict Anderson’s famed definition of the nation as “an imagined political community—and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.”66 The “national” character of the “ownership” alludes to inclusivity, therefore, but also operates within the space of the state: there are limits, both to the inclusion of the “non-nationals” and to the territorially configured political authority enjoyed by those included as nationals. In terms of peacebuilding, the emphasis on national ownership not only draws attention to the spatial and conceptual limitations of the nation as a political domain and a form of political community, but also obscures the ways in which the nation itself is constituted by and in relation to non-national spaces.

(p.54) The phrase “national ownership” is repeated endlessly throughout the discourse I analyzed, used by everyone in every context: from the Secretary-General in his press statements through to the members of the Organizing Committee in their informal meetings. “National ownership” is articulated as the foundation of all peacebuilding-related activity.67 It is a “principle,” sometimes even a “core principle,”68 and the “key to effective peacebuilding”;69 “national ownership” is also written into each of the frameworks or compacts that guide the country-specific configurations (see Table 2.1).

The UN is quite certain that peacebuilding is a national project, requiring “partnership in support of national efforts.”70 The repeated articulation of the modifier “national” requires the examination of the assumptions around the concept of the nation and other spatial and territorial domains. The constitution of “the nation/the national” is of paramount significance. In the following excerpt, for example, the construction of the nation is organized around an absence or lack of skill or capacity: “National ownership is crucial for a successful transition process, and national leaders must be involved in decision-making throughout, reflecting the needs of the society. National capacity development, therefore, is vital for the success of the mission.”71 The assumption in this construction is that national capacity is lacking, is something that requires “development.” It is not enough that the nation exists, or is involved; its capacity must be enhanced “for the success of the mission.” The nation is positioned in this excerpt as separate from “the society,” but the assumption here is one of the practices of representative democracy, such that the “needs” of the society are reflected in the decisions made by “national leaders.”

It is important to note here the extensive feminist analysis of nations and nationalism that draws attention to the ways in which the nation is gendered as a concept, and nationalism gendered as a set of practices.72 Denise Horn, among others, offers a very eloquent critique of the assumption that (p.55) the “nation” is anything but a profoundly gendered construct; she draws on Virginia Woolf’s oft-cited claim to having “no country” as a result of the exclusive practices of nationalism and citizenship to illustrate the ways in which the benefits of nationality and citizenship—and, ultimately, being visible within the “imagined community” of the nation-state—accrue differently to differently gendered and racialized bodies.73 “Nationalism relies on excluding and forgetting. Nationalism constructs ‘the people,’ simultaneously including/excluding us/them . . . What is significant is not only difference but the political import of threat or inferiority: difference is hierarchised.”74 The “difference” to which Pettman draws attention is gendered, and in the context of analyzing UN peacebuilding discourse this raises the question of who is included/excluded in the “nation” prized by the UN as the “owner” of these peacebuilding processes (and likely dividends).

There are two elements of this critique of the nation. The first is the limited extent to which, historically and in contemporary global politics, the “nation” as a concept has included women as a group, which has implications for the inclusion of women in peacebuilding practices in a discursive terrain organized by such strong association between peacebuilding and “national ownership.” As noted earlier, Woolf articulated the early feminist view that women were systematically excluded from the nation as an “imagined community,” to borrow Anderson’s useful configuration again, by virtue of the systematic discrimination practiced against women as a group throughout history. Women have not been recognized as full citizens with voting rights, even in democracies; women have not had equal property rights or rights over children under family law; women have not been able to participate equally in the practices of the nation, including politics, economics, and war; and women have not enjoyed full rights over their bodies, as many states have manifestly failed to put in place legal measures to prosecute various forms of violence against women, including marital rape, and simultaneously have failed to provide women with access to reproductive health care and safe abortion.

Instead, women have been deployed in the national imaginary as symbols, while men are seen as the agents of the nation.75 Most frequently, (p.56) this symbolism revolves around heterosexual reproduction, constituting women in nationalist discourse as “nationalist wombs”76 and forging a link between the individual wombs of individual women and the symbolic “womb of the nation” as the site of the nation’s reproduction. The implications of this representation are twofold: women’s bodies become something to be protected, and something to be policed.77 Women—or rather, women’s bodies, for they do not achieve full subjectivity in this configuration—are to be protected as symbols of the “mother/land,” the spatial and conceptual domain assumed to encapsulate the nation and against which incursions must be defeated. This is, per Iris Marion Young’s formulation, a “masculinist logic” that demands the subordination of women to the imagined/actual “State as protector.”78 Masculinity is performed through the active performance of violence in the name of the state, while proper femininity “derives from this position of being protected.”79 As Young explains,

In this patriarchal logic, the role of the masculine protector puts those protected, paradigmatically women and children, in a subordinate position of dependence and obedience. To the extent that citizens of a democratic state allow their leaders to adopt a stance of protectors toward them, these citizens come to occupy a subordinate status like that of women in the patriarchal household. We are to accept a more authoritarian and paternalistic state power, which gets its support partly from the unity a threat produces and our gratitude for protection.80

Uncritically endorsing “national ownership” of peacebuilding processes situates the nation as the privileged and empowered subject in UN peacebuilding discourse relative to those subjects that are positioned as subordinate (a point to which I return later, for the nation is subordinate to the international sphere and other extra-national entities), perpetuating the same logics of gender identified by Young and others in the analysis of protection as symbolic and material act.

The policing of women’s bodies—again, both actual and symbolic—is also imbricated in the celebration of the nation as a spatial and conceptual domain. Through “illicit” heterosexual liaison with “outsiders,” which may result in pregnancy and birth of non-national “others,” the body politic of (p.57) the nation may thus be polluted. This is the gendered logic behind much sexualized violence in conflict. The inability of a group to protect “its” women, demonstrated either through the emasculation of men within the group or the violation of women, threatens the cohesion and power of the “nation.”81 The rape of women during nationalist conflict is often discursively constructed as an affront to national pride or honor, as a challenge to the masculinity of the nation, and as a way of polluting the blood of the nation. During the violences in Kosovo, Bracewell suggests that “Serb-Albanian relations . . . were presented as a matter of competing masculinities, with the bodies of women serving as the markers of success or failure.”82 A similar story emerged out of the 1994 civil war in Rwanda, during which women raped were often told they were spared so they could “die of sadness.”83 These constructions are profoundly gendered: the genocidal killing is represented as being of and between men, with women suffering as a result of it rather than directly; without men to protect them, the women were depicted as vulnerable to violation, which would bring sadness in turn, born of shame at being violated. These representations perpetuate the control of women and their bodies by the already established masculinized protectors of the nation; it is difficult to extricate the nation as a concept and construct from these gendered logics.

As mentioned earlier, the nation is always positioned within discourse relative to other subjects and objects; as noted by Ernesto Laclau and Chantel Mouffe, “all identity is relational and all relations have a necessary character” that provides structure but also fluidity within the discursive totality.84 There are two ways in which the nation is positioned that I wish to touch upon here: the nation as supra-ordinate to “local,” and the nation as subordinate to the regional and the international. In both cases, logics of gender and space function to reinforce the construction of the nation not only as an intermediary between scales, but also as a subject devoid of peacebuilding expertise, and capacity. Simultaneously, the discourse perpetuates the fetishization of the sovereign state as the sole legitimate form (p.58) of political community, which I discuss in the final section of this chapter. First, I turn to the construction of the nation vis-à-vis the “local.” The “local” is articulated as a discrete and meaningful spatial domain in peacebuilding activities, a locus of such activity and one that is bound to but separate from the nation: “To be sustainable, peacebuilding efforts must take place at multiple levels: national, local and at the grassroots.”85

The “local” is, in line with the construction of the “national” domain, assumed to be in need of “capacity-building”: “local capacity-building for human rights and reconciliation, and local capacity-building for public sector service delivery can greatly benefit long-term peacebuilding.”86 This functions to obscure the knowledge and expertise that individuals have as agents in their own lives and perpetuates the assumption that national, regional, and international actors have as much legitimacy in the space of peacebuilding as those whose lives have been riven by the recent conflict. Interestingly, the “local” appears to be the only spatial domain where individuals are recognized as individuals. It is suggested, for example, that “[t]he equal participation of women and men in peacebuilding processes can strengthen local ownership and can contribute to greater equality between women and men in post-conflict societies.”87 Equality of participation is valued at the local level, but is never associated with the national space throughout the documentary and spoken discourse that I analyzed.

By contrast, there is a clear association forged between women and the local as a spatial domain, with “local” being articulated in chains of equivalence alongside “traditional,” “rural,” and “population.”88 For example, the 2010 Mission Report from the Liberia Country-Specific Configuration notes that “women’s traditional leadership structures [are] important resources for peacebuilding in rural communities.”89 This representation is heavily racialized, contributing to the construction of what Chandra Talpade Mohanty calls “third-world difference.”90 Difference is marked on the bodies of “third-world women”; even as women are held up as “traditional leaders,” this construction evokes Mohanty’s “average third-world (p.59) woman,” who “leads an essentially truncated life based on her feminine gender (read: sexually constrained) and being “third world” (read: ignorant, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, religious, domesticated, family-oriented, victimized, etc.).”91 This is evident in the repeated articulations of local with traditional, and with rural, signifying underdevelopment, backwardness, and a lack of civilization, by contrast—according to the logics of binary opposition—with its implied opposite, urban (in turn: developed, modern, civilized). The association of women with subnational spaces and entities (local, rural, traditional, populations) is a significant element of UN peacebuilding discourse to which I return in the discussion of “civil society” in Chapter 5.

In the context of the construction of the nation, however, it is important to note that “the local” is profoundly subordinate to both the nation and, by association, those spaces that exceed the nation. The following excerpt exemplifies this configuration, as a Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission outlines the priorities for peacebuilding (note the layout of the text):

1) Security: strengthening National Security Forces especially police force; 2) Legal system: development of an enforceable legal system particularly to resolve land disputed; 3) Youth employment: in many post-conflict countries 60–70% youth are without any meaningful jobs and unless they are provided with some hope, some peace dividends and jobs, they can easily be misused to create security problems.

And it is also critical to listen to the needs of local leadership.92

“Local leadership” has “needs,” while, according to this formulation, the international community has the capacity to “manage or help these countries and societies” as “we undertake peacebuilding-related activities”;93 expertise is located at the UN level, rather than at the “local” level.

Knowledge about, and expertise in, peacebuilding, however generally conceived, is thus associated with the international community and more specifically the organs of the United Nations. In contrast to the claim reported earlier, that the UN is “really not very good at peacebuilding,”94 there is a pervasive assumption that the supranational entities—the UN, regional organizations, international financial institutions, and (p.60) others—are (the) repositories of peacebuilding knowledge. The relationship between national and international as spatial and conceptual domains is frequently represented as one of “partnership,” for example as in the statement that “[p]eacebuilding relies on complementary partnerships among UN system partners”;95 this language tends to suggest equality and thus obscures the extent to which the nation as a meaningful political space is somewhat hollowed out by the positioning of the international entities in supra-ordinate positions within the discourse.

An example of this positioning can be seen in the following excerpt from a document published under the auspices of the Working Group on Lessons Learned:

[R]ebuilding core state institutions that provide security, justice, public administration, as well as basic social services, is fundamental for a successful transition from war to lasting peace and development. The UN and other peacebuilding actors have been paying more attention to the importance of consolidation and extension of state authority; however, numerous challenges exist, such as limited national capacities that undermine the locally-owned institution-building process, included in the field of security and justice.96

Here, national and local actors are visible only as impediments to the consolidation of state authority: it is a vision of the state that perpetuates state power without attributing this power to individual actors. As argued earlier, the principle of “national ownership” is largely meaningless in the light of such discursive moves, as much of a fiction as the sovereign state itself. The “nation” in UN peacebuilding discourse is a “partner,” an “owner,” a “leader,” but on closer examination it appears that these identities are constituted without authority and legitimacy. As a result, the nation founders as a political construct, leaving discursive space for the association—indeed, conflation—of nation with state. The implications of this are profound for the understanding of peacebuilding itself: if nation is indeed synonymous with state, then the enterprise in which all actors are involved resembles state-building rather than peacebuilding.

(p.61) Peacebuilding as the Performative Constitution of Sovereignty

Resolution 2103 (2013) of the Security Council refers to PBC’s readiness to re-engage with Guinea-Bissau, once conditions allow, and to the “need to further realign the United Nations system’s state-building and peacebuilding activities and the contribution of the Peacebuilding Fund to peace consolidation in Guinea-Bissau.”97

The analysis presented above shows how UN peacebuilding discourse (re)produces an understanding of peacebuilding as a transformative, and therefore teleological, process, a complex and contested process demanding that difficult decisions be made about competing priorities in the face of limited resources. The priorities that figure most prominently—security, economic development, and the rule of law—work together to constitute the object of peacebuilding in the image of the liberal sovereign state. Further, I deconstructed the emphasis on national ownership to lay bare the masculinist logics of political power that infuse the concept of the nation, and in the preceding section I demonstrated that, even while attributing ownership to the “nation,” UN peacebuilding discourse constitutes the nation as a subject subordinate to the international as a spatial domain. The logic of the international, however, is such that the concept of the nation is required. In order that a discourse about international peacebuilding might be rendered meaningful—in order for it to make sense—the nation must feature in this discourse, but as I have argued earlier, the nation as a subject of this discourse is irretrievably compromised (even if we do not directly problematize the gendered power relations that infuse the concept of nation and practice of nationalism). The nation as political community is compromised by the nation as “space-holder,” and so to compensate, the nation must be rehabilitated in the figure of the state.

While the nation is never fully determined, UN peacebuilding discourse reproduces the conventional acceptance of the sovereign state as a political entity and spatial domain:

Peacebuilding depends on the universally shared belief that the State assumes its functions in full sovereignty, on behalf of all citizens, and in response to their basic needs. It also requires the State to have the necessary technical, human and financial resources to manage public business transparently and efficiently.98

(p.62) This excerpt is replete with assumptions about sovereignty, the practice of state power, and the relationship of the state to its inhabitants; it explicitly articulates peacebuilding as a series of practices that perform and constitute the state.

There is a significant literature on the similarities in, and differences between, peacebuilding and state-building (see, inter alia, Chesterman 2004; Paris, 2004; Call with Wyeth, eds., 2008; Paris and Sisk, eds., 2009). The latter tends to engage most persuasively in explorations of what the state is, as both a spatial and political construct, and of the constitutive role of the concept of sovereignty in determining the nature of the state (see Richards 2016). The conventional conceptualization of sovereignty relies upon a distinction between spatial realms: the “inside” and the “outside” of the state. Drawing on the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, among others, International Relations as a discipline has incorporated this spatial delineation into its foundational theories of power and authority in global politics. Setting aside for a moment a desire to unpick the “myth of Westphalia” and its origin stories of the development of the modern state system,99 we can locate the epicenter of feminist critiques of sovereignty in feminist critiques of the centralization of power and authority in the nascent nation-state.100 As Spike Peterson explains, “state formation marked a shift to relatively independent ‘domestic/household’ units of production/reproduction distinguished (retrospectively) from a ‘public/political’ sphere.”101 The process of state formation was therefore reliant on an early delineation between “inside” and “outside”; in this context, however, the “inside” or “private” realm referred to the household rather than the national-domestic realm. Feminist political theorists have written extensively about the structural, gendered, inequalities that are (re)produced through adherence to the separation of these two spaces. The complexities of the many feminist critiques of the “public/private” dichotomy are beyond the scope of this analysis,102 but it is enough to acknowledge that the consolidation of state-level units of action was in (p.63) turn enabled by household-level consolidation of power in the hands of the (historically male) public actor and the establishment of a corollary (feminized) private realm.

This consolidation, necessarily simplified here, had a number of implications for the representation and participation of women in public life and also for the reach of the state sovereign authority into the private sphere of the household (or rather, its exclusion from that sphere). Simply put, materialist feminist theorists have argued that it was the early production of a distinction between private (domestic) space and public (political) life, and the corollary association of economic activity with the public domain that encouraged the systemic subordination of women.103 The household labor undertaken primarily by women was erased from public view and public accounts, to become part of a parallel, reproductive, economy, rather than integrated into the formal productive economy. These early feminist engagements with the material basis of gendered inequality developed into more recent critiques of the state more broadly. These critiques proceed from the assumption that “the state as an institution is part of a wide social structure of gender relations,”104 but is both fundamentally made possible through that set of structured gender relations and (re)productive of them. De-essentializing the materialist concern with male domination of female subjects in the separation of public and private, post-structuralist critiques have envisaged “the patriarchal state not as a manifestation of a patriarchal essence, but as a centre of a reverberating set of power relations and political processes in which patriarchy is both constructed and contested.”105 Linking both sets of critique, however, is a concern with the intrinsic subordination of feminine subjects and femininity itself in the processes of “modern” state formation.

The gendered power relations that constitute these early processes of state formation are erased, however, in non-feminist academic scholarship and in peacebuilding discourse. Historically, the starting point of disciplinary engagement has been the transition from proto-state to modern state and the claiming of external sovereign authority as well (p.64) as internal sovereign power. The bloodless accounts of the development of the modern state system, which also encourage disciplinary myopia regarding racial and cultural power dynamics,106 represent this process as though it were in no way the product of gendered power. A feminist critique demands that we look again. The core of the first feminist critique of sovereignty is that the “modern state system” that forms the ontological foundation of International Relations is intrinsically gendered as it relies on particular configurations of gendered power. Without the centralization of power in the household, which forms “the basic socioeconomic unit defined by the state,”107 the state could not claim or perform sovereign authority over a given territory, because it is through the household that property rights, citizenship rights, and political rights were mediated in the processes of state formation. Feminist critiques of sovereignty as an organizational logic of global politics in practice as well as in International Relations scholarship have drawn attention to the ways in which the distinction between “international” and “domestic” spatial realms relies upon the same configurations of gendered power that are evident within the state. The international system reproduces the gendered logics of the public/private dichotomy that is foundational to the formation of the modern state: “[g]endered and sexualized images of the state and the state’s envoys are not incidental, they are the logics that organize international relations and without which such relations would break down.”108

A feminist analysis of sovereignty can thus illuminate the ways in which, by projecting the “public/private” division onto the “international/domestic” divide, the practices of global politics and the performance of sovereignty reproduces specifically gendered—not at all neutral—power relations. Just as feminist political theorists remind us that, historically, women have been associated with the private sphere and evacuated from the public (political) domain, with deleterious consequences for citizenship rights, agency, and access to justice, feminist scholars have drawn attention to the masculinization of the international domain, and corollary feminization of the domestic sphere. This not only analytically precludes the political representation of women in the international (p.65) realm, but also perpetuates the association of state power with masculine subjectivity:

To operate in the international arena, governments seek other governments’ recognition of their sovereignty; but they also depend on ideas about masculinized dignity and feminized sacrifice to sustain that sense of autonomous nationhood.109

To clarify, this is both a critique of the ways in which conventional logics of state sovereignty overwhelmingly locate power in the hands of actual men—as they do—and a critique of the ways in which ideas about sovereign authority associate that authority with masculine values and manly bodies.

Political practices work in multiple ways to strengthen the associative chains between, on the one hand, private-domestic-feminine-emotional/irrational, and, on the other hand, public-international-masculine-rational. Through its adherence to a foundational logic that reifies the sovereign state as the object of study and demarcates a rigid boundary between the “international-outside” and “domestic-inside,” UN peacebuilding discourse perpetuates the gendered interpellation of political actors, such that those positioned in the international domain are simultaneously ascribed a particular type of rational masculinized power. The function of this is to create a vision of the world that equates rational masculinity with political credibility and authority. The personification of the state—the image of the sovereign—is thus masculine, detached, rationally calculative, and disassociated from feminine emotionality and domestic concerns.110 In short, the state is conceived of as neutral but is inherently gendered; the concept of the state relies on the delineation of a boundary between the “international” and “domestic,” which is conceived of as neutral but is inherently gendered; and UN peacebuilding discourse reproduces ideas and ideals about political authority in the form of the sovereign (state), which it conceives of as neutral but which are inherently gendered and are specifically reliant on the valorization of masculine power and the diminution of feminine agency.

Further, this discursive process elides important differences in terms of the desired “end goals” of peacebuilding practices. As Jörn Grävingholt, (p.66) Stefan Gänzle, and Sebastian Ziaja have commented, the building of states “should not be considered a goal in itself. Modern states have been instrumental in bringing about enormous progress along the lines of these goals, but they have also been the source of tremendous grievances.”111 A narrow focus on state-building in the guise of peacebuilding can risk legitimizing exclusionary and even violent practices in the consolidation of state authority. Moreover, on a broader level, this emphasis on “national ownership” and the concomitant focus on building state institutions reproduces conventional ideas about legitimacy and authority (such as superficial “democratic state”) that may result in the peacebuilding process producing simply “more of the same” as international actors do not engage with or recognize the legitimacy of non-state entities. State actors tend, overwhelmingly, to be male, even in contexts such as Burundi that introduced strong quota mechanisms to ensure women’s political participation. This can mean not that non-state entities tend to be led by women, but rather that they are feminized by virtue of their lack of “true” political authority, as explained earlier.

In terms of the legitimacy of both process and outcome, a narrow construction of peacebuilding as statebuilding is bound by constrictive logics of both gender and space that ascribe to the (notionally sovereign) state a degree of power, authority, and legitimacy, while reinscribing the nation as state. The implications of this configuration of gendered power include the perpetuation of state-centrism in political discourse more broadly, and the fetishization of sovereignty. Locating legitimacy in the state, rather than the “nation,” or the “local/community,” reinforces those logics of gender and space that structure contemporary global politics in ways that do not challenge certain inequalities (including gendered inequalities) or configurations of power and authority (including gendered configurations of power and authority) that historically, as argued earlier, have excluded women from the domain of formal politics. Locating legitimacy in the state through conflating peacebuilding with statebuilding ultimately shores up the sovereign state system, which we know, as shown earlier, is a highly masculinized state system. In a particularly delightful turn of phrase, one of the people I spoke to reminded me that “we all have a very unclear sense of what [peacebuilding] means . . . the one thing we know the hard way is that (p.67) it involves getting quite deep into the trousers of sovereignty just when sovereignty is at its most fragile and prickly.”112 In this excerpt, “fragile” masculinity becomes indivisible from fragile sovereignty, and this fragility must be respected; sovereignty must be protected through the performance of its recognition and the emphasis it is afforded in the process of peace/state-building.


(1.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Statement by the Chair of the Burundi Configuration to the Security Council, July 22, 2013.

(2.) Historical Documents, UN GA/ UN SC 1992, A/47/277-S/24111, para. 15.

(3.) Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research, 1969, 6(3): 167–191; see also Johan Galtung, Essays in Peace Research, Volume 1, Copenhagen: Eljers, 1975.

(4.) Galtung discussed in W. Andy Knight, “Evaluating Recent Trends in Peacebuilding Research,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 2003, 3(2): 241–264, 247.

(5.) As affirmed more recently, “the politics of peace has a teleological aim at its centre”; see Florian P. Kühn and Mandy Turner, “Introduction: Peacebuilding, Peace Operations and Regime Change Wars,” International Peacekeeping, 2012, 19(4): 393–395, 393.

(6.) John Paul Lederach, Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies, Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace Press, 1997, 75.

(7.) Chair’s Statements, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, incoming Chair of the PBC, January 29, 2014; the same language appears in Chair’s Statements, Vladimir Drobnjak, former Chair of the PBC, March 26, 2014.

(8.) Organizational Committee, Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, March 23, 2010, 2–3.

(9.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, UN PBC WGLL/DESA, Background Paper, November 22, 2010, 10.

(10.) Interview data, LJSNY20132.

(11.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Hamburger [Netherlands], PBC/1/BDI/SR.5, July 24, 2007, para. 29; Central African Republic Country-Specific Configuration, Mission Report, July 10–11, 2008, para. 15; Central African Republic Country-Specific Configuration, Conclusions and Recommendations, PBC/5/CAF/3, October 28, 2011, para. 5.

(12.) Liberia Country-Specific Configuration, Mission Report, September 15–20, 2013, 1.

(13.) Chair’s Statements, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Chair of the PBC, March 26, 2014.

(14.) For “path,” see: Guinea Country-Specific Configuration, Statement by the Guinea Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, May 7, 2013; Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, Ms. Lute [Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support], Third session, summary record of the first meeting, Sierra Leone configuration, PBC/3/SLE/SR.1, February 4, 2009, para. 22; and for “continuum,” see Chair’s Statements, Eugène-Richard Gasana, former Chair of the PBC, July 12, 2012; Guinea-Bissau Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Hoscheit [Luxembourg] PBC/2/GNB/SR.1, March 11, 2008, para. 17.

(15.) Interview data, LJSNY20132.

(16.) Chair’s Statements, Ambassador Peter Wittig, former Chair of the PBC, March 23, 2011.

(17.) Elise Boulding, “Image and Action in Peace Building,” Journal of Social Issues, 1988, 44(2): 17–37; Elise Boulding, “The Challenge of Imaging Peace in Wartime,” Conflict Resolution Notes, 1991, 8(4): 34–36; Elise Boulding, “A Journey into the Future: Imagining a Nonviolent World,” Peace and Conflict Studies, 2002, 9(1): 51–54.

(18.) For “multidimensional,” see: Chair’s Statements, Vladimir Drobnjak, former Chair of the PBC, July 15, 2014; Chair’s Statements, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Chair of the PBC, March 26, 2014; Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Mahmoud [Executive Representative of the Secretary-General], PBC/2/BDI/SR.2, January 17, 2007, para. 12; for “multifaceted,” see: Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Oshima [Japan], PBC/2/BDI/SR.2, January 17, 2007, para. 18; Working Group on Lessons Learned, Briefing Paper, March 13, 2008, 1; Working Group on Lessons Learned, Report, May 2010, 7; for “complex,” see: Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Chair, PBC/2/GNB/SR.1, March 11, 2008, para. 11; Central Africa Republic Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Maliko, [Central African Republic], PBC/3/CAF/SR.2, October 27, 2008, para. 845; Chair’s Statements, Eugène-Richard Gasana, former Chair of the PBC, March 19, 2012.

(19.) Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Schulenburg [Acting Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone], Third session, summary record of the first meeting, PBC/3/SLE/SR.1, February 4, 2009, para. 20.

(20.) Interview data, LJSNY20145.

(21.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, June 12, 2008, pp. 4–5.

(22.) Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, Ms. Lute [Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support], Third session, summary record of the first meeting, PBC/3/SLE/SR.1, February 4, 2009, para. 22.

(23.) Chair’s Statements, Vladimir Drobnjak, former Chair of the PBC, July 15, 2014.

(24.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Informal Meeting of the Burundi Specific Configuration, Chair’s Summary, December 11, 2009.

(25.) Organizational Committee, Mr. Ney [Germany], Summary record of the sixth meeting of the Organizational Committee, third session, PBC/3/OC/SR.6, September 28, 2009 [September 4, 2009], para. 4.

(26.) Chair’s Statements, Eugène-Richard Gasana, former Chair of the PBC, March 19, 2012.

(27.) Chair’s Statements, Ambassador Peter Wittig, former Chair of the PBC, March 23, 2011.

(28.) Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, Ms. Dunlop [Brazil], Third session, summary record of the second meeting, PBC/3/SLE/SR.2, July 6, 2009, para. 55.

(29.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, June 12, 2008, pp. 4–5.

(30.) Organizational Committee, Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its third session, A/64/341-S/2009/444, September 8, 2009, para. 73.

(31.) Organizational Committee, (Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, November 23, 2010, 2.

(32.) Organizational Committee, Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, March 23, 2010, 2; see also Chair’s Statements, Ambassador Yukio Takasu, Permanent Representative of Japan, January 7, 2009.

(33.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, June 12, 2008, 4; see also Organizational Committee, Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its second session, A/63/92-S/2008/417, June 24, 2008, para. 74; Organizational Committee, Secretary-General, Summary record of the first meeting of the Organizational Committee, first session, PBC/1/OC/SR.1, May 18, 2007 [June 23, 2006], para. 5; Chair’s Statements, Vladimir Drobnjak, former Chair of the PBC, July 15, 2014.

(34.) Interview data, LJSNY20134.

(35.) Michael Barnett, Hunjoon Kim, Madalene O’Donnell, and Laura Sitea, “Peacebuilding: What Is in a Name?,” Global Governance, 2007, 13(1): 35–58, 49, emphasis added; on the primacy of security in peacebuilding discourse and practice, see also: Necla Tschirgi, Peacebuilding as the Link between Security and Development: Is the Window of Opportunity Closing? New York: International Peace Academy, 2003; Aboagye and Rupiya, “Enhancing Post-Conflict Democratic Governance through Effective Security Sector Reform in Liberia”; Adedeji Ebo, “The Role of Security Sector Reform in Sustainable Development: Donor Policy Trends and Challenges,” Conflict, Security & Development, 2007, 7(1): 27–60.

(36.) For a sophisticated yet accessible introduction, see Barry Buzan and Lene Hansen, The Evolution of International Security Studies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

(37.) See Arnold Wolfers, “‘National Security’ as an Ambiguous Symbol,” Political Science Quarterly, 1952, 67(4): 481–502; Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear: The National Security Problem in International Relations, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983; V. Spike Peterson, “Security and Sovereign States: What Is at Stake in Taking Feminism Seriously?,” in V. Spike Peterson, ed., Gendered States: Feminist (Re)Visions of International Relations Theory, London and Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1992, 31–64; David Baldwin, “The Concept of Security,” Review of International Studies, 1997, 23(1): 5–26.

(38.) Guinea Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/5/GUI/2, September 23, 2011, para. 9.

(39.) Central African Republic Country-Specific Configuration, Background Paper, September 4, 2008, Executive Summary.

(40.) Chair’s Statements, Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Chair of the PBC, February 24, 2012.

(41.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Chair’s Summary, February 29, 2008, 3.

(42.) See Carol Cohn, “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 1987, 12(4): 687–718; Carol Cohn, “Motives and Methods: Using Multi-sited Ethnography to Study US National Security Discourses,” in B. Ackerly, M. Stern, and J. True, eds., Feminist Methodologies for International Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 91–107; Carol Cohn, “Mainstreaming Gender in UN Security Policy: A Path to Political Transformation?,” in Shirin M. Rai and Georgina Waylen, eds., Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives, Basingstoke and New York: Macmillan Palgrave, 2008, 185–206.

(43.) Cohn, 2006, “Motives and Methods,” 186.

(44.) Chair’s Statements, Heraldo Muñoz, incoming Chair, January 7, 2009; see also Chair’s Statements, Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Chair of the PBC, July 24, 2012; Chair’s Statements, Ambassador Yukio Takasu, Permanent Representative of Japan, January 7, 2009.

(45.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. de Klerk [Netherlands], PBC/4/BDI/SR.1, April 28, 2010, para. 58.

(46.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/1/BDI/2, May 21, 2007, para. 14.

(47.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Informal Discussion on Community Recovery, Chair’s Summary, February 27, 2007.

(48.) Interview data, LJSNY20132. On development as “long term,” see Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, Statement by the Chair of the Sierra Leone configuration to the Security Council, March 22, 2012, p. 2; Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Mr.de Klerk [Netherlands], PBC/4/BDI/SR.1, April 28, 2010, para. 58; on “long-term” peacebuilding, see Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/2/SLE/1, December 3, 2007, para. 1; Chair’s Statements, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, incoming Chair of the PBC, January 29, 2014.

(49.) Interview data, LJSNY20147; Guinea Country-Specific Configuration, Statement by the Guinea Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, May 7, 2013; Guinea-Bissau Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/3/GNB/3, October 2, 2008, para. 6; Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Oshima [Japan], PBC/2/BDI/SR.2, January 17, 2007, para. 18.

(50.) Interview Data, LJSNY20147; see also Organizational Committee, Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, June 22, 2011, 1.

(51.) Organizational Committee, Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, May 17, 2010, 2.

(52.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Chair’s Summary, June 7, 2010, 1; Organizational Committee, Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, October 17, 2012, 3.

(53.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Concept Note, December 13, 2007.

(54.) Wendy Lambourne, “Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding after Mass Violence,” International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2009, 3(1): 28–48, 29.

(55.) See the discussion in Sarah Maddison and Laura J. Shepherd, “Peacebuilding and the Postcolonial Politics of Transitional Justice,” Peacebuilding, 2014, 2(3): 253–269, 256–258.

(57.) See, for example: Rama Mani, “Rebuilding an Inclusive Political Community after War,” Security Dialogue, 2005, 36(4): 511–526; Chandra Lekha Sriram, “Justice as Peace? Liberal Peacebuilding and Strategies of Transitional Justice,” Global Society, 2007, 21(4): 579–591; Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, “The Relationship of Political Settlement Analysis to Peacebuilding from a Feminist Perspective,” Peacebuilding, 2016, 4(2): 151–165.

(58.) Chair’s Statements, Abulkalam Abdul Momen, outgoing Chair of the PBC, January 28, 2013.

(59.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, June 12, 2008, 4–5; see also Table 2.1.

(60.) Organsiational Committee, Ms. Hernández [temporary Chair], Summary record of the third meeting of the Organizational Committee, second session, PBC/2/OC/SR.3, 15 October 2007 [September 12, 2007], para. 8.

(61.) William C. Whitford, “The Rule of Law,” Wisconsin Law Review, 2000, 75(3): 723–742, 724.

(62.) On “good governance,” see: Central African Republic Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/4/CAF/1, December 17, 2009, para. 7; Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Informal Meeting of the Burundi Specific Configuration, Chair’s Summary, April 12, 2012; Organizational Committee, Mr. Appreku [Ghana], Summary record of the tenth meeting of the Organizational Committee, first session, PBC/1/OC/SR.10, September 4, 2007 [June 27, 2007], para. 48; Chair’s Statements, Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Chair of the PBC, July 24, 2012; on “human rights,” see: Guinea-Bissau Country-Specific Configuration, Letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council, December 3, 2007, S/2007/700; Historical Documents, A/55/305-S/2000/809, Para. 13; Historical Documents, United Nations 2004, Para. 229; Working Group on Lessons Learned, June 12, 2008, 4–5; and on “security,” see: Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration, Ms. Kanerva [Finland], Summary record of the first meeting, Sierra Leone configuration, PBC/1/SLE/SR.1, May 18, 2007, para. 55; Organizational Committee, Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, November 23, 2010, 2; Organizational Committee, Ms. Hernández [temporary Chair], Summary record of the third meeting of the Organizational Committee, second session, PBC/2/OC/SR.3, October 15, 2007 [12 September 2007], para. 8.

(63.) Michael C. Barnett, “Building a Republican Peace: Stabilizing States after War,” International Security, 2006, 30(4): 87–112, 88.

(64.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Informal Meeting of the Burundi Specific Configuration, Chair’s Summary, December 11, 2009.

(65.) Organizational Committee, Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its fourth session, A/65/701-S/2011/41, January 28, 2011, para. 110.

(66.) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed., London: Verso, [1983] 1991, 6.

(67.) Organizational Committee, Informal Meeting of the Organizational Committee, June 23, 2010, 1.

(68.) Chair’s Statements, Ban Ki-moon, October 11, 2006; Organizational Committee, Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its third session, A/64/341-S/2009/444, September 8, 2009, para. 74; Consultative Meeting Between the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the African Union Peace and Security Council, July 8, 2010, 3.

(69.) Organizational Commitee, Mr. Gasana [Chair], Summary record of the first meeting of the Organizational Committee, fifth session, PBC/5/OC/SR.3, February 15, 2011 [January 26, 2011], para. 15.

(70.) Guinea Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/5/GUI/2, September 23, 2011, para. 5.

(71.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Initial Findings, November 21, 2012, 2.

(72.) See, for example: Nira Yuval-Davis, and Floya Anthias, eds., Woman-Nation-State, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989; Anne McClintock, Aamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat, eds., Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation, and Postcolonial Perspectives, London and Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1997; Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender and Nation, London: SAGE, 1997; Sita Ranchod-Nilsson and Mary-Ann Tetrault, eds., Women, States and Nationalism: At Home in the Nation?, London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

(73.) Denise Horn, “Citzenship, Nationality and Gender,” in Laura J. Shepherd, ed., Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations, London and New York: Routledge, 2015, 320–330.

(74.) Jan Jindy Pettman, Worlding Women: A Feminist International Politics, London and New York: Routledge, 1996, 46.

(75.) Anne Whitehead, Clara Connolly, Erica Carter, and Helen Crowley, “Editorial,” Feminist Review, 1993, 44(1): 1–2, 1.

(76.) Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics, rev. ed., Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000, 54.

(78.) Iris Marion Young, “The Logic of Masculinist Protection: Reflections on the Current Security State,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 2003, 29(1): 1–25.

(79.) Ibid., 6.

(80.) Ibid., 2.

(81.) Wendy Bracewell, “Rape in Kosovo: Masculinity and Serbian Nationalism,” Nations and Nationalism, 2000, 6 (4): 563–590; Judy El-Bushra, “Transforming Conflict: Some Thoughts on a Gendered Understanding of Conflict Processes,” in Susie Jacobs, Ruth Jacobson, and Jennifer Marchbank, eds., States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance, London: Zed Books, 2000, 66–86; Lene Hansen, “Gender, Nation, Rape: Bosnia and the Construction of Security,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2000, 3(1): 55–75.

(83.) El-Bushra, “Transforming Conflict,” 73.

(84.) Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, 2nd ed., London: Verso, [1985] 2001, 106.

(85.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Concept Note, December 13, 2007.

(86.) Historical Documents, United Nations 1994, para. 229.

(87.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Concept Note, January 29, 2008, 1.

(88.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Chair’s Summary, February 29, 2008, 3; Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/1/BDI/2, May 21, 2007, para. 14; Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, Second Progress Report, February 5, 2009, para. 78.

(89.) Liberia Country-Specific Configuration, Mission Report, August 16–27, 2010, para. 41.

(90.) Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses,” Feminist Review, 1988, 30: 61–88, 63.

(91.) Ibid., 65.

(92.) Chair’s Statements, Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Chair of the PBC, February 24, 2012.

(93.) Interview data, LJSNY20132.

(94.) Interview data, LJSNY20145.

(95.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Concept Note, April 6, 2011, 2; see also Guinea-Bissau Country-Specific Configuration, Mr. Omoegie [Representative of the S-G for Guinea-Bissau], PBC/2/GNB/SR.2, March 19, 2008, para. 17; Central African Republic Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/3/CAF/7, June 9, 2009, para. 4; Guinea Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/5/GUI/2, September 23, 2011, para. 5.

(96.) Working Group on Lessons Learned, Chair’s Summary, May 19, 2015, 1.

(97.) Guinea-Bissau Country-Specific Configuration, Statement by the Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration, May 19, 2014.

(98.) Burundi Country-Specific Configuration, PBC/1/BDI/4, July 30, 2007, Annex, para. 19.

(99.) Andreas Osiander, “Sovereignty, International Relations and the Westphalian Myth,” International Organization, 2001, 55(2): 251–287.

(100.) Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract, Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988; Rebecca Grant, “The Sources of Gender Bias in International Relations Theory,” in Rebecca Grant and Kathleen Newland, eds., Gender and International Relations, Buckingham: Open University Press, 1991, 8–26; Karen Knop, “Re/Statements: Feminism and State Sovereignty in International Law,” Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, 1993, 3: 293–344.

(102.) For an excellent overview, see Carole Pateman, The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism, and Political Theory, Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1989, 118–140.

(103.) Karen Sacks, “Engels Revisited: Women, the Organisation of Production and Private Property,” in Rita R. Reiter, ed., Toward an Anthropology of Women. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975, 211–234; Christine Delphy, Close to Home: A Materialist Analysis of Women’s Oppression, London: Hutchinson, 1984; Sylvia Walby, “Theorising Patriarchy,” Sociology, 1989, 23(2): 213–223.

(104.) R. W. Connell, “The State, Gender and Sexual Politics: Theory and Appraisal,” Theory and Society, 1990, 19(5): 507–544, 509.

(105.) Johanna Kantola and Hanna Marlene Dahl, “Gender and the State: From Differences Between to Differences Within,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2005, 7(1): 49–70, 54.

(106.) See Benjamin de Carvalho, Halvard Leira, and John M. Hobson, “The Big Bangs of IR: The Myths That Your Teachers Still Tell You about 1648 and 1919,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2011, 39(3): 735–758.

(108.) Laura J. Shepherd, “Feminist Security Studies,” in Robert A. Denemark, ed., International Studies Encyclopedia, [EV-GE], Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 2181–2201, 2185.

(110.) J. Ann Tickner, Gendering World Politics: Issues and Approaches in the post-Cold War Era, New York: Columbia University Press, 2001, 54. See also Charlotte Hooper, Manly States: Masculinities, International Relations and Gender Politics, New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

(112.) Interview data, LJSNY20145.