The militarization of peace in UN peace operations: Unpacking discourses of war and ontologies of peace
The dissertation project explores discourses of war and ontologies of peace in UN peace operations and how the conceptualization of peace in the UN can be understood.
Since the concept of peacekeeping was introduced in 1948, the character of peace operations has changed. From peace operations consisting mainly of peacekeepers standing guard of peace agreements and operations being heavily based on the core principles of consent, neutrality, impartiality, non-use of force and legitimacy, the UN is currently struggling with the increasing gap between these principles and where the practice of UN peacekeeping is today.
More complex peace operations
To account for contemporary threats such as violent extremism and terrorism, peace operations have become more complex, robust, and offensive in the last decades. Examples of this are the operations MINUSMA in Mali, MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and MINUSCA in the Central African Republic.
With this development of operations, the use of force has become a more prominent dimension of peace operations. The dissertation project explores how we can better understand this development, and where the decision to use force to achieve peace comes from and has developed.
The use of force to achieve peace
The fundament of the research is the inherently contradictory relationship between the use of force and peace, and the central questions that are addressed regard how we should understand the use of force as a tool to achieve peace – if we understand peace as a condition related to the non-use of force. Clearly, the UN aims to achieve peace in peace operations, but how is peace conceptualized within the organization? How is peace understood as a goal of operations, and peace for whom? By applying theoretical debates of militarization, the research project tries to unpack how and why the ontology of peace in UN peacekeeping has shifted, and how this generates a more general tolerance of war and the use of military means to achieve security goals in our world.
Department of War Studies and Military History
The Swedish Defence University