What is the relationship between the situated learning of Unarmed Civilian Protection workers and gendered power dynamics?

Oakley, Derek and Warin, Jo (2020) What is the relationship between the situated learning of Unarmed Civilian Protection workers and gendered power dynamics? PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This study used a mixed methods, grounded theory approach to investigate the situated learning of Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) workers and its relationship to hegemonic gender regimes. It reviews the everyday situated learning of UCP workers in the context of and structures gender and race. UCP is understood as a unique ‘Community of Practice’ subordinate to and nested within the overarching humanitarian infrastructure. The definition and contestation of UCP by different workers and related, fluid dynamics of complicity with and resistance to structural power are explored. The unique contributions to knowledge that this thesis makes are in three key areas: 1/ Firstly this study represents the first, hopefully of many forays into studying UCP via a new critical framing which situates the UCP practice in explicit relation to feminism, gender, identity and other subjectivities, 2/ Within this framing, and especially in the use of feminist care ethics, we can observe how care not only supports and makes possible knowledge creation and sharing, but is itself a form of social reproduction that sustains and ‘makes’ UCP. The differential distribution of the burden of care and knowledge creation in UCP teams demands further attention. This recognition of the centrality of Care to UCP sheds new light on how UCP is practiced and experienced differently by not only men and women but by people of numerous intersecting subjectivities. 3/ Finally this thesis indicates that greater attention to the intersectionality of identities within the UCP community is essential to future scholarship and action around this practice; especially the importance of the eldership of older, more experienced men and women from the Global South, and the embodied knowledge that these elders recognize, carry and share with peers. The findings of this study indicate ways in which UCP practice affects personal behavior, promotes critical reflection on questions of power and identify and that facilitates a diverse range of agency in their gender performance. However UCP is subject to the same structural challenges as other humanitarian work, including the privileging of certain types of white, Eurocentric masculinities and femininities. Unique components of the practice invert the masculinist security paradigm and foreground a radical ethics of care and collective knowing. However UCP practice currently exhibits only limited resistance to the disciplinary power of the technocratic ‘security-development nexus’. This thesis indicates the importance of further research and practice which attends to the intersectionality of identities within the UCP community; especially the importance of the eldership of experienced practitioners. Recommendations include greater attention to and diversity of learning approaches including mentorship and more concerted transnational exchange between practitioners in different countries and continents. These interventions, combined with organizational focusses on retention will consolidate and further the possibilities of agencies from UCP workers that actively embody resistance to dominative hegemonic regimes that normalize colonial, militarized ideals of gender.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? gender roleshumanitarian workethics of caresituated learningcommunities of practicecoloniality of genderpeace workunarmed civilian protection ??
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21 Jul 2020 11:26
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:52