Edited Volume

You can order United Nations Peace Operations and International Relations Theory (co-edited with John Karlsrud)­­ at the Manchester University Press website.

You can read the introductory chapter here.

New in paperback in September 2023!

The volume is the first comprehensive overview of multiple theoretical perspectives on UN peacekeeping. There are two main uses of this volume. First, this volume provides the reader with insights into different theoretical lenses and how they practically can be applied to better understand UN peacekeeping. Second, through case studies in each chapter, the volume provides practical examples of how International Relations theories – such as realism, liberal institutionalism, rational choice institutionalism, sociological institutionalism, feminist institutionalism, constructivism, critical security studies, practice theory, and complexity theory – can be applied to a specific policy issue.


It has been selected as one of Top 5 books of the September 2021 issue of International Affairs by Book Reviews Editor Krisztina Csortea, who wrote the following:

United Nations peace operations and international relations theory manages to be both accessible and insightful in a way that makes this edited volume an invaluable resource for researchers and students alike. Bringing a range of theoretical perspectives to bear on UN peace operations including many excluded from more conventional analyses, the book ultimately stands as a testament to how novel theoretical engagement can provide genuine insight into the practical realities of peacekeeping.”

It has been selected as one of Outstanding Academic Titles of 2021 by Choice, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is a division of the American Library Association. The list “reflects the best in scholarly titles…and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. The list is quite selective, containing approximately ten percent of some 5,000 works reviewed annually in Choice.”


The volume has been reviewed in International Peacekeeping, where Bethan K. Greener has described it as “an invaluable resource to scholars and students seeking to better understand the applicability of theory to practice”.

It has also been reviewed in International Affairs, where Samantha Gamez has described it as “a long overdue contribution that sits at the intersection of critical reflection and good old-fashioned scholarship”.

It has been reviewed in Choice:

“This excellent book successfully engages the literature on UN peacekeeping with scholarship on international relations (IR) theory. Oksamytna (King’s College, London) and Karlsrud (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs) have arranged the contributions of nine scholars into a superb ‘one-stop shop’ for readers who want an overview of how different theoretical perspectives address the issue of post–Cold War UN peacekeeping operations. Contributors examine the capabilities and limits of individual IR theories for explaining peacekeeping missions and their effectiveness. All seek to answer the same question: ‘Why does UN peacekeeping take the shape that it does,’ applying a particular theory of IR to a case study from their own research. Together they highlight the shortcomings of the dominant realist theory and the important contribution of alternative theories (from constructivism and liberal institutionalism to practice theories, including critical security studies, feminist institutionalism, and complexity theory) to the understanding of phenomena (such as peacekeeping) that do not neatly fit the realist model. The collection illuminates the often underestimated yet important role of the UN in world politics while unpacking the complexity of its bureaucracy, showing how its agencies function at the international, national, and local levels—thus offering a useful complement to Ramesh Thakur’s The United Nations, Peace and Security. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals.” –M. E. Carranza, Texas A&M University–Kingsville