'Cowboys and professionals': The Politics of Identity Work in the Private and Military Security Company

Citation:

Higate, Paul. 2011. "'Cowboys and professionals': The Politics of Identity Work in the Private and Military Security Company." Journal of International Studies 40 (2): 321-41.

Author: Paul Higate

Abstract:

This article examines the politics of identity work in the private security industry. Drawing on memoirs authored by British private military contractors, and using a theoretical framework influenced by symbolic interactionist thought, the article highlights the relevance of inter-subjectivity to identity constitution. In particular, British contractors are found to constitute their professional identity in relation to their US military and contractor counterparts, above all by framing them as ‘less-competent others’. This article makes an original contribution to the private and military security companies literature through its sociological focus on the links between national and professional self-identities and security practices on the ground. The article also explores the importance of the memoir genre as a valid textual resource which throws light on the interplay of the international and security dimensions within multinational military and militarised contexts. (JSTOR)

Keywords: private security, masculinity, identity politics

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Security Regions: Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2011

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.