Acknowledging that progress in gender mainstreaming was woefully deficient, the United Nations (UN) Department of Peacekeeping Operations organized a May 2000 Seminar in Windhoek on “Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations”, hosted by the Namibian Government, which produced two ground-breaking outcome documents that had an enormous impact on the adoption of landmark UN Security Council resolution 1325 on “Women and peace and security” five months later. Through the lens of the author’s first-hand account, the article unpacks and scrutinizes the ways in which the Seminar’s visionary Windhoek Declaration and the more operational Namibia Plan of Action came into being and had such a critical impact on that milestone resolution, and what specific factors ignited this exceptional outcome, including the role played by the host country. Through this prism, three key factors and the infectious effect of each are described, providing insights into the evolving Seminar dynamics and the interplay of inspiring speakers, Working Group deliberations, and strategic plenary sessions. The article also highlights, however, that the promises of the Windhoek Declaration, Namibia Plan of Action, and resolution 1325 have still not been fulfilled twenty years later, even though the hopes of conflict-affected women had been re-ignited in 2015 with Security Council resolution 2422’s sweeping calls for action and a stark Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 presenting robust recommendations for action to fill the many gaps. As the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 approaches, a rallying cry of hope is directed to all those who believe in the need for women to be fully involved as equal partners in all peace and security processes that this struggle can still be accelerated to achieve the results envisaged if top UN leadership spearheads a bold time-bound initiative to steer the course forward. But will this rallying cry be embraced?
This article revisits ripeness theory and examines whether conflicts with armed Islamist groups can also be ripe for negotiation. The article argues that armed Islamist organizations can be willing to negotiate and demobilize, but talks are particularly vulnerable to spoilers and public backlash. To examine these dynamics, the article investigates the case of al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya in Egypt. Relying on a variety of primary and secondary sources, including organizational documents and testimonies by the leaders, the analysis shows that the absence of ripeness can indeed explain some of the failures of negotiations. However, when the conflict was finally ripe, talks broke down because of elite divisions and public backlash. The case reveals that there is a dark side to ripeness: the conditions that lead to a mutually hurting stalemate can also lead to public outrage, elite divisions, and opposition to negotiations.
Under what conditions can Islamist armed conflicts be resolved through peace negotiations? Armed conflicts involving Islamist groups have emerged as one of the most pressing challenges on the global agenda for peace and security. But the track record of conflict resolution in these settings is not encouraging. While armed conflicts have generally decreased in the post-Cold War period, as many prolonged civil wars were resolved through negotiated settlements, this has not been true to the same extent for this sub-category of conflicts. Yet, we know surprisingly little about why this is the case. The purpose of this thematic issue is to address this gap. Each contributor tackles a different angle of the overarching research problem.
International relations and sport have become increasingly intertwined, with sport and sports events being used for various diplomatic and political goals. Yet, membership of FIFA and the IOC is largely organised along lines of sovereign statehood. Like other fora of diplomacy, this excludes contested territories that wish to engage in diplomacy for various political, economic, and cultural reasons. Yet, these entities can engage in international sports (diplomacy) through membership of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA). This paper finds that while the participating entities often make a political statement, there is little evidence that participation in CONIFA has positively impacted their foreign policy goals. Furthermore, beyond CONIFA, contested territories have been unable to advance their sporting sovereignty or engage in diplomatic relations with recognised states. However, CONIFA aids in nation branding through hosting rights and media attention, and contributes to strengthening the ‘national’ identity of the participants.
The circumstances in which Shostakovich’s 13th symphony was composed must be a wake-up call and a source of inspiration for anthropologists today, at a time when nationalism in various forms is reasserting itself: internationalism should remain our horizon. As neoliberalism is unfolding all its illiberal potential, the freedom to choose one’s research subjects and to carry out field surveys must be actively defended. Authoritarian populism has exacerbated all identity claims and spread turmoil within the academy itself. Fear now fuels identity prejudices, censorship and self-censorship. We must confront this new fear collectively, prevent people from becoming trapped in a narrow vision and thus promote dialogue and the open exchange of ideas. The rise of the question of identity as a threat is a serious challenge for anthropologists and we must all focus on our various minoritized experiences to address this issue and to strengthen democratic pluralism, because becoming minor(itarian) is the best way to defeat populism. Anthropologists must all assume their subjectivities and release their creative potential to produce critical estrangement and confront all forms of conformism here and elsewhere.
Through a critical engagement with substantive and stylistic guidelines dictated by dominant journals in the social sciences, this article enquires on what it means to write like a social scientist in the twenty-first century. Academic production and diffusion now regularly take place beyond and across national borders, with English often standing in as the lingua franca of these global exchanges. Though just one effect of this restructuration, academic journals have become more transnational in scope with regards to the authors whose work they publish and the audiences whose readership they seek to attract. However, while one could expect the “globalization” of the social sciences to lead to the transnational circulation of national disciplinary traditions and perhaps multiple manifestations of cultural hybridization, we are instead witnessing the imposition of a strangely singular and harmonized mode of doing the social sciences. Paradoxically, standards of how long a scientific article should be or how one should fashion an argument are so familiar and intimately known, yet curiously opaque and of unknown origins. In interrogating the historical-contextual origins of conventions that so strongly shape the world of academic publishing and, dare we say, reasoning, we raise questions about the conditions of the present and the naturalization of standards on how to write a scientific article. As a consequence of this exploration, we propose alternatives guidelines that a new journal such as ours has to present to its anticipated authors and readers.