until further notice
SourceCambridge Review of International Affairs, 27, 2, (2014), pp. 246-267
22 april 2014
Article / Letter to editor
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Politicologie t/m 2019
Cambridge Review of International Affairs
SubjectNON-RU research; Onderzoek niet-RU
With governments increasingly contracting private military and security companies (PMSCs) to perform military and police-related tasks, international relations scholars have made attempts to better understand PMSCs and to investigate the reasons for the boom of private security. Rather than focusing on the services these companies offer, which has been a common approach, we offer an identity-based explanation for their surge. We show that PMSCs eclectically assume identities related to the military, business managers and humanitarians, independent of the services they perform, their market segment or their location on the battlefield. This finding points to an important yet littlenoted dimension in the private security industry. Although companies are heterogeneous, they also appear increasingly homogeneous because they incorporate a similar set of identities. On the one hand, this enables PMSCs to adapt to any context, client or employee, and, on the other hand, it has constitutive qualities, contributing to an important source of power for the respective companies. These multiple identities contribute to a norm of what a superior security provider should look like.
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