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Power and Authority in the Production of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325


  • Author’s note: I would like to thank the editorial board and anonymous reviewers at International Studies Quarterly, whose close engagement with my work was most helpful. I am also grateful to Jutta Weldes, Judith Squires, and David Mutimer, for providing valuable commentary on earlier drafts of this paper, and to the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), which funded the research.


United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 was adopted in 2000 with the aim of ensuring all efforts toward peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, as well as the conduct of armed conflict itself, would entail sensitivity toward gendered violence and gendered inequalities. In this article, I contrast two accounts of the writing of UNSCR 1325 that issue from the two institutions that claim authority over the document: the United Nations Security Council and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. I make a broader theoretical argument about the importance of paying analytical attention to the discursive terrain of international institutions when analyzing the formulation and implementation of security policy, concluding that contemporary theorizing of international institutions is product/productive of a particular configuration of political authority and legitimacy that can, and should, be challenged.