The patriarchy dressed in feminist clothes : A discourse analysis of the United Nations Security Council’s gendering of the concept Civilians

University essay from Försvarshögskolan


This thesis analyses key documents from the United Nations Security Council (the Council) meetings during the period of 1999 to 2001. This thesis maps out the shift in the discourses that occurred within the Council, when adopting United Nations Security Council’s resolution (UNSCR) 1325. Moreover, this thesis argues that the nodal point ‘Civilians’ has become gendered by being replaced by the concept of ‘Women’. This thesis argues that UNSC is misrepresenting female agency within the discourses, which has contributed to a gendering of the concept of civilians. Sexual violence, defined as a wartime weapon, has also been part of the construction of stereotypical gender binaries, which has constituted a representation of women as either victims or saviors within the discourses. It becomes evident that the notion of female agency as for example independent, empowered or strong has been neglected.

The discourse theory provided by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe is applied in order to map out the existing discourses within the Security Council meetings. The aim of this study is to acknowledge the importance of that women have been and still are being excluded from the ontology of war. Furthermore, when the role of women in war is described, it is in relation to constructed stereotypical gender binaries.

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