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The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325, the first resolution to be adopted by the Council under the title of ‘Women and Peace and Security’ (WPS). With the subsequent adoption of eight further resolutions, WPS now represents a significant and well-established thematic agenda for the Council, and its relevance as an area of political practice extends well beyond the Council Chamber at United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) in New York.
This seminar focuses on the stories that are told about the WPS agenda, by the organisation that claims to be its institutional ‘home’ – the United Nations – and those who work in and around this organisation. Presenting a thematic analysis of a new corpus of narrative data, the seminar examines the ways in which various dimensions of WPS are narrated over time, and explores the political implications of these narrative constructs. I use narrative and discourse theory to interpret textual and interview data, where the latter represents narratives of WPS engagement co-produced with research participants who have experience of working on WPS in and around UNHQ. I draw together insights from the ways in which narrative approaches have been deployed to good effect by, inter alia, feminist institutionalists in Political Science, and feminist security studies scholars in International Relations, to develop a theory and method of encountering narrative that reveals the political affordances that are created through storytelling. In the case of the WPS agenda, the tensions, absences, and disjunctures that are revealed through narrative analysis have an impact on the mobilisation of support for, and the successful implementation of, the agenda, both at UNHQ and elsewhere.
Laura J. Shepherd is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor of International Relations at the University of Sydney. Laura is also a Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security in London. Laura’s research focuses on gender politics, international relations and critical studies of security and violence. Her primary research focuses on the UN’s ‘Women, Peace and Security’ agenda. She has written extensively on the formulation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent Women, Peace and Security resolutions. Laura has published many scholarly articles, and is author/editor of ten books