Private Security and Identity Politics: Ethical Hero Warriors, Professional Managers and New Humanitarians, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Private Security and Identity Politics

Ethical Hero Warriors, Professional Managers and New Humanitarians, 1st Edition

By Jutta Joachim, Andrea Schneiker


136 pages

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pub: 2018-08-02
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This book examines the self-representation and identity politics of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs).

PMSCs have become increasingly important over the past few decades. While their boom is frequently explained in functional terms, such as their cost-efficiency and effectiveness, this book offers an alternative explanation based on an analysis of the online self-presentations of forty-two US- and UK-based companies. PMSCs are shaping how they are perceived and establishing themselves as acceptable and legitimate security actors by eclectically appropriating identities more commonly associated with the military, businesses and humanitarian actors. Depending on their audience and clients’ needs, they can be professional hero warriors, or promise turn-key security solutions based on their exceptional expertise, or, in a similar way to humanitarians, reassure those in need of relief and try to make the world a better place. Rather than being merely public relations, the self-referential assertions of PMSCs are political. Not only do they contribute to a normalization of private security and reinforce an already ongoing blurring of lines between the public and private sectors, they also change what we deem to be ‘security’ and a ‘security actor’.

This book will be of much interest to students of private military companies, critical security studies, military studies, security studies and IR.


'In Private Security and Identity Politics, Joachim and Schneiker offer us important new insights into the global politics of security privatization. They convincingly move the focus beyond ongoing debates on private versus public, and the services PMSCs provide. Instead, the authors offer a detailed analysis of the multiple (gendered) identities that private security actors wield to gain economic and political power and re-shape our understandings of security. Their findings have crucial implications for theory and policy making on private security. By bringing the politics of identity construction into the field of private security studies, Joachim and Schneiker also illuminate broader contemporary trends in global security. This book will be of great interest to scholars of private security and anyone working on issues of security and international relations today.'-- Maya Eichler, Editor of Gender and Private Security in Global Politics

'This highly innovative study makes a distinct and important contribution to the literature on private security. Examining the identity politics through which PMSCs represent themselves as ethical hero warriors, professional security experts, and benevolent humanitarians, Joachim and Schneiker show how PMSCs not only influence security practices, but also our understanding of what it means to be a humanitarian and a soldier.' -- Rita Abrahamsen, University of Ottawa, Canada

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Identities, Identity Politics, and PMSCs

Chapter 2: Professional Hero Warriors

Chapter 3: Security Experts and Business Managers

Chapter 4: Do-Gooders and Humanitarians

Chapter 5: From Mercenary to Hero Warrior, Security Professional, and Humanitarian: Summary and Discussion of Findings

About the Authors

Jutta Joachim is Senior Lecturer of International Relations at Radboud University, the Netherlands. She is author of Agenda Setting, the UN, and NGOs (2007) and co-editor of International Organizations and Implementation (Routledge 2007) and Transnational Activism in the UN and the EU (Routledge 2008).

Andrea Schneiker is Professor of Political Science at the University of Siegen, Germany. She is the author of Humanitarian NGOs, (In)Security and Identity (Routledge 2015) and co-editor of Researching Non-State Actors in International Security (Routledge 2017).

About the Series

Routledge Private Security Studies

The series will publish books in the area of Private Security Studies, broadly defined. It invites research publications contributing to and advancing existing research agendas and is particularly eager to welcome research doing this through diverse theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, as well as interdisciplinary work.


Advisory Board:

Rita Abrahamsen, University of Ottawa

Deborah Avant, Denver University

Navita Behera, Univeristy of Delhi

Pinar Bilgin, Bilkent University

Christian Bueger, Cardiff University

Deborah Cowen, University of Toronto

Marieke de Goede, Free University, Amsterdam

Rebecca de Winter-Schmitt, American University/ Amnesty International

Mervin Frost, King's College London

Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Roul Wallenberg Institute

Ben Goold, University of British Columbia

Monica Herz, PUC Rio de Janeiro

Aida Hozic, Florida University

Christopher Kinsey, King's College London

Keith Krause, Institut d'Hautes Etudes en Relations Internationales, Geneva

Mark Laffey, School of African and Oriental Studies

Ian Loader, Oxford University

Roxanne Lynn-Doty, University of Arizona

James Pattison, University of Manchester

Sarah Percy, University of Western Australia

Clifford Shearing, Griffith University

Christopher Spearin, Canadian Forces College

Maria Stern, Göteborgs Universitet

Nigel White, University of Nottingham

Klaus Dieter Wolf, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Kirstie Ball, University of St Andrews

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General