Being a UN Bureaucrat: Policy-Making in the UN Secretariat

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
Chapter
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)

Abstract

Much of the attention of UN officials, or bureaucrats, working at headquarters was dominated by a catching-up tendency. The formal stipulations in the broad peacebuilding mandates and resolutions, as adopted by the Security Council, result in a multitude of activities and actors on the ground, all seeking to realize the formalized intentions in the resolutions in the peacebuilding context in the post-conflict country. The degree of autonomy on the ground affects the institutional output and the linkages of the peacebuilding process, between the peacebuilding recipients and the donors. The protagonists in this chapter, the UN bureaucrats, were working at UN DPKO headquarters in New York and were geared towards a catching-up modus, trying to put language on activities emerging on the ground or in the field as a result of broad Security Council mandates. Based on the empirical findings through qualitative fieldwork and participant observation, as described in Chap.  3, this chapter focuses on performers and producers of UN peace operation strategies, the actors working at UN DPKO headquarters. These actors represent an interface between the political decision-making level and the implementation level on the ground in the peacekeeping missions. They also represented an interface between the external and the internal, the global, and the local, where political, cultural, and knowledge processes are continuously challenged and (re)built.

References

  1. Barth, Fredrik. 1987. Cosmologies in the Making. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. da Costa, Diana Felix, and John Karlsrud. 2012a. UN Local Peacebuilding and Transition in Haiti. In Security in Practice 4. Oslo: NUPI.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2012b. Moving Towards Local-level Peacebuilding? In Security in Practice 5. Oslo: NUPI.Google Scholar
  4. Douglas, Mary. 1986. How Institutions Think. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Handelman, Don. 1995. Comments. Current Anthropology 36 (2): 280–281.Google Scholar
  6. Herzfeld, Michael. 1992. The Social Production of Indifference: Exploring the Symbolic Roots of Western Bureaucracy. New York: Berg.Google Scholar
  7. Heyman, Josiah McC. 1995. Putting Power in the Anthropology of Bureaucracy: The Immigration and Naturalization Service at the Mexico–United States Border. Current Anthropology 36 (2): 261–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  9. Lien, Marianne E., and Marit Melhus. 2007. Holding Worlds Together: Ethnographies of Knowing and Belonging. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
  10. Neumann, Hannah, and Niels Nagelhus Schia. 2012. Contextualizing Peacebuilding Activities to Local Circumstances: Liberian Case-study Field Report. Security in Practice 6. Oslo: NUPI.Google Scholar
  11. Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2005. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. UN DPKO/DFS. 2008. Policy Directive Civil Affairs. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 2009. A New Partnership Agenda – Charting a New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  14. UN General Assembly/Security Council. 2000. Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in All their Aspects. The Brahimi Report. New York: Unite Nations.Google Scholar
  15. UN Lessons Learned Review. 2012. On Support to Core Public Administration Functions in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  16. Vike, Halvard. 1996. Conquering the Unreal: Politics and Bureaucracy in a Norwegian Town. Department and Museum of Anthropology, University of Oslo.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
    • 1
  1. 1.NUPIOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations