Author’s notes: I am very grateful to Nick Vaughan-Williams and the two anonymous referees for constructive feedback and encouragement. I thank all those who commented on earlier versions of this paper as presented at the departments of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, and International Relations, University of Sussex, as well as the 2011 British International Studies Association conference and the “Reconceptualising Gender: Transnational Perspectives” international network, Birzeit University, Palestine, funded by the British Academy. This article emerged from my research as part of the projects, “Women and Gender in the Political Transition in Iraq” and “Women and the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” both funded by the British Academy.
Reconceptualizing Gender, Reinscribing Racial–Sexual Boundaries in International Security: The Case of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”1
Article first published online: 19 FEB 2013
© 2013 International Studies Association
International Studies Quarterly
Volume 57, Issue 4, pages 772–783, December 2013
How to Cite
Pratt, N. (2013), Reconceptualizing Gender, Reinscribing Racial–Sexual Boundaries in International Security: The Case of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”. International Studies Quarterly, 57: 772–783. doi: 10.1111/isqu.12032
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 19 FEB 2013
- British Academy
The gendered boundaries of international security, historically identified by feminist scholarship, are being broken down since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls on member states to mainstream a gender perspective into matters of conflict and peacebuilding. However, we should not read this as a positive step toward the transformation of the lives of women (and men) in conflict zones. Reading 1325 and subsequent resolutions through a postcolonial feminist lens reveals that this reconceptualization of gender occurs through a reinscription of racial–sexual boundaries, evocative of the political economy of imperialism. An examination of the discourses and practices of the “war on terror” exposes a similar configuration of gender, race, and sexuality. I argue that 1325 works in tandem with dominant security practices and discourses in the post-9/11 moment, normalizing the violence of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency measures. Understanding the significance of race and sexuality in the conceptualization of gender has implications for transnational feminist praxis and its ability to construct a counter-hegemonic project to transform the dominant structures of power that give rise to war, conflict, insecurity, and injustice.