1st Edition

Private Military and Security Companies as Legitimate Governors From Barricades to Boardrooms

By Berenike Prem Copyright 2020
    266 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Gower

    This book examines the legitimation of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs), focusing on the controversy between PMSCs and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

    While existing studies disproportionately emphasizes the ability for companies and their clients to dominate and shape perceptions of the industry, this book offers an alternative explanation for the oft-cited normalization of PMSCs and the trend to privatize security by analyzing the changing relationship between PMSCs and NGOs. It uses the concept of ‘norm entrepreneurship’ to elucidate the legitimation game between these two dissimilar actors. Starting from the 1990s, the book shows that the relationship between PMSCs and NGOs has undergone a transition by literally moving from ‘the barricades to the boardrooms’. After years of fierce advocacy and PR campaigns against PMSCs, today both actors increasingly collaborate in multi-stakeholder initiatives, elevating the status of PMSCs from a scorned actor to a trusted partner in the regulation of the industry. The work offers a comprehensive explanation of when and why this kind of collective norm entrepreneurship is likely to occur.

    This book will be of interest to students of PMSCs, critical security studies, global governance, international norms, and International Relations.

    1  Introduction; 2 PMSC-NGO Interactions, Legitimation, and Norm Entrepreneurship; 3 The ‘First’ PMSCs: Just Warriors or Just Mercenaries?; 4 NGO Discourse – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; 5 Business Discourse: (Re)Framing PMSCs; 6 Norm Entrepreneurship in the Swiss Initiative: From Accounts to Accountability; 7 Norm Entrepreneurship in the International Code of Conduct and the International Code of Conduct Association; 8 Explaining Norm Entrepreneurship in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives; 9 Conclusion


    Berenike Prem is a research fellow at the University of Kiel, Germany.