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Women, peace and security after Europe's 'refugee crisis'

Holvikivi, Aiko ORCID: 0000-0001-7901-1105 and Reeves, Audrey (2020) Women, peace and security after Europe's 'refugee crisis'. European Journal of International Security, 5 (2). pp. 135-154. ISSN 2057-5637

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Identification Number: 10.1017/eis.2020.1


Since its inception in 2000, the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda has conceptualised the conflict-Affected woman as a subject worthy of international attention, protection, and inclusion. In the wake of Europe's 'refugee crisis', this article examines how the remit of WPS has broadened from women in conflict zones to refugees in Europe's borderlands. A minority of European states now attend, in their WPS policy, to these conflict-Affected women on the move. This inclusion productively challenges established notions of where conflict-Affectedness is located. It exposes Europe as not always peaceful and safe for women, especially refugees who flee war. Conversely, the dominant tendency to exclude refugees from European WPS policy is built on a fantasy of Europe as peaceful and secure for women, which legitimises the fortressing of Europe and obscures European states' complicity in fuelling insecurity at their borders, cultivating an ethos of coloniality around the WPS agenda. The inclusion of refugees is no panacea to these problems. If focused solely on protection, it repositions European states as protective heroes and conflict-Affected women as helpless victims. The WPS framework nonetheless emphasises conflict-Affected women's participation in decision-making and conflict prevention, opening space for recognising the refugee women as political actors.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 British International Studies Association
Divisions: IGA: Centre for Women Peace and Security
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2020 13:00
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:51

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