The Conceptualization of Peacekeeping: Implications for Training and Practice



Attitudes toward peacekeepers’ roles and toward the training they should receive appear to be shifting in two directions. The first and less noticeable shift is toward the conclusion that increasing demands for micro-level peacemaking and peacebuilding activity on the part of peacekeepers necessitates specific preparation for this role. The second shift, based on a similar analysis of the increasingly complex interventions carried out by the UN, has led to a growing body of opinion which argues for the authorization of more military or enforcement powers for peacekeepers.1 This second role should not be associated with third party peacekeeping. Boutros-Ghali makes a point of separating enforcement action from peacekeeping in An Agenda for Peace.2 Ironically, the argument for this second role lends support to the claim here that military peacekeepers are trained for war but are asked to carry out a peaceful third party intervention which not only limits the applicability of their previous training but does not provide them with replacement skills or direction. This lack of knowledge and practice of the third party role has led some commentators to the conclusion that peacekeepers should, (1) continue with, or (2) rely solely on military doctrine, preparation and training. The point made by both interpretations is that the existing system of UN intervention is not functioning effectively and that changes are needed. The arguments presented here suggest an alternative to the reversion to a purely military doctrine for resolving these violent protracted conflicts.


Conflict Resolution Military Personnel Contingency Model Military Culture Party Intervention 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    See Mackinlay and Chopra, 1992; Boutros-Ghali, 1992a (proposal for peace enforcement units); Pugh, 1992; special issue of Survival 1990, 32(3).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© A. B. Fetherston 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research CentreThe Australian National UniversityAustralia

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