Assembling intelligence in United Nations peacekeeping: between transformation and path dependency

Chiara De Franco, Louise Wiuff Moe*

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article traces the evolution of intelligence in United Nations peacekeeping through a practice-based assemblage lens. We address a gap in the literature by transcending the focus on 'peacekeeping intelligence' as merely an evolving policy instrument. Instead, we employ an 'analytic of assemblage' that reveals the intrinsic ambiguity of both the concept of peacekeeping intelligence, and the related competing perspectives as well as forms of expertise among stakeholders. We select the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC, 1960-1964), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, 2004-2017), and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA, 2013-2023) as cases to reconstruct the historical evolution of intelligence within peacekeeping. Our analysis reveals profound tensions between efforts to transform intelligence for broader goals like the protection of civilians, on the one hand, and the persistent dominance of military knowledge and tactical priorities in its implementation, on the other. We convey the enduring predominance of military priorities shaping intelligence practices across spatio-temporal contexts, grounded in historical legacies of doctrinal developments, training and regional collaborations. The analysis thereby highlights the interplay between contingency and the influence of enduring power structures in shaping the evolving peacekeeping assemblage. This offers a perspective that links assemblage approaches with the analysis of not only emergence but also path dependency influenced by historical and geopolitical contexts and suggests that strengthening such analytical link holds wider potential for advancing contributions of assemblage approaches to critical security studies.

TidsskriftInternational Affairs
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)1043-1066
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - maj 2024

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