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Reflective practices at the Security Council: Children and armed conflict and the three United Nations

Bode, Ingvild (2017) Reflective practices at the Security Council: Children and armed conflict and the three United Nations. European Journal of International Relations, 24 (2). pp. 293-318. ISSN 1354-0661. (doi:10.1177/1354066117714529) (KAR id:62037)


The United Nations Security Council passed its first resolution on children in armed conflict in 1999, making it one of the oldest examples of Security Council engagement with a thematic mandate and leading to the creation of a dedicated working group in 2005. Existing theoretical accounts of the Security Council cannot account for the developing substance of the children and armed conflict agenda as they are macro-oriented and focus exclusively on states. I argue that Security Council decision-making on thematic mandates is a productive process whose outcomes are created by and through practices of actors across the three United Nations: member states (the first United Nations), United Nations officials (the second United Nations) and nongovernmental organizations (the third United Nations). In presenting a practice-based, micro-oriented analysis of the children and armed conflict agenda, the article aims to deliver on the empirical promise of practice theories in International Relations. I make two contributions to practice-based understandings: first, I argue that actors across the three United Nations engage in reflective practices of a strategic or tactical nature to manage, arrange or create space in Security Council decision-making. Portraying practices as reflective rather than as only based on tacit knowledge highlights how actors may creatively adapt their practices to social situations. Second, I argue that particular individuals from the three United Nations are more likely to become recognized as competent performers of practices because of their personality, understood as plural socialization experiences. This adds varied individual agency to practice theories that, despite their micro-level interests, have focused on how agency is relationally constituted.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1354066117714529
Uncontrolled keywords: individual agency, Michel de Certeau, practice theories, UN Security Council, thematic mandates
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (
Depositing User: Ingvild Bode
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2017 13:40 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:10 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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