Who's Got the Biggest Humanitarianism: How Nations Soldier for Peace

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 6D P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Izadora XAVIER, Université Paris 8/GTM-CRESPPA, France
The paper is based on my ongoing PhD research about Brazilian peacekeepers in MINUSTAH. I am interested in using the Brazilian experience as a case study for understanding the connections between guidelines conceived in a post-1325 context and the actual experience of soldiers on the field. One aspect of this that particularly called my attention during interviews I conducted both in Brasília and Port-au-Prince is how military peacekeeping works as a contested site of construction for Brazilian hegemonic masculinity. This understading of masculinity works as hegemonic for a Brazilian context, while at the same time seeing itself as subordinate globally.

The « Brazilian way » of the military, in this case, is being constantly compared with the military practices of other countries and with UN expectations and rules. Soldiers' and officers' own view of their practices interacts with a global hegemonic masculinity model present in militay peacekeeping guidelines, but also in projected representations of « other militaries », and it does so both as competitor and accomplice. This kind of « humanitarian competition », I would argue, can be used to discuss the foundations of peacekeeping as a model for managing international conflicts. Moreover, I hope the conclusions presented in the paper will serve to sustain my argument that gender as a critical tool for analyzing the practice of peacekeeping allows for a broder critique of the contemporary war system and the role the UN plays in it.