MINUSMA and the militarization of UN peacekeeping


MINUSMA, the UN peace operation in Mali, represents a new development in peace missions, due to the insecure transnational context in which it has evolved and its mandate to collaborate with counterterrorist forces in the region. The goal of this paper is to study this new development, using Enloe’s feminist theorization of the concept of militarization. I base my analysis on an understanding of militarization as a social process that can be adapted or contested. Grounded in a qualitative methodology, I study MINUSMA and its peacekeepers in order to identify how the process of militarization takes place within/through the mission. My principal argument is that the context of robust peacekeeping, combined with the implications of collaboration with counterterrorist operations and the reengagement of NATO troop contributing countries, creates a space in which militarization is reinforced for the mission and its peacekeepers and that this impacts how they interact with one another and what practices they favour.