Two of our colleagues within the Department have recently contributed to the edited book United Nations Peace Operations and International Relations Theory. Edited by Kseniya Oksamytna and John Karslrud, the book is the first of its kind to apply different International Relations theories to peacekeeping studies, which historically lacked engagement with theoretical concepts and approaches.

Sarah von Billerbeck’s chapter applies sociological institutionalism to UN peace operations. She examines how norms, rules, and organisational culture shape the behaviour of peacekeeping actors, arguing that peacekeepers are social agents whose behaviour is in part constituted by ideas of appropriateness that exist within the organisational environment. She uses a case study of local ownership in peacekeeping to demonstrate how UN staff sometimes engage in contradictory behaviour because of the need to perceive themselves as appropriate, legitimate, and aligned with their own institutional standards.

Georgina Holmes’s chapter explores how Feminist Institutionalism can be applied to the study of peacekeeping. Drawing on field research with Ghana Armed Forces, she shows how global gendered, racial and class power relations inform institutional change processes within troop contributing militaries, and examines how frictions between internal institutional enforcers and internal/external feminist activists shape local recruitment and deployment practices. The case study is a small sample of her much larger comparative research project exploring how male and female peacekeepers are trained, socialised and deployed from Rwanda, Ghana and the UK.

The book also includes chapters on Realism, Constructivism, Practice theory, Complexity theory, and a variety of institutionalisms. We are currently sourcing it for our library but in the meantime, you can find out more here.

You can find it on Amazon

There will also be a launch event hosted by King’s College London on Monday 5th October 2020, 14.00-15.30 (UK).