Martial Races and Enforcement Masculinities of the Global South: Weaponising Fijian, Chilean, and Salvadoran Postcoloniality in the Mercenary Sector


Higate, Paul. 2012. "Martial Races and Enforcement Masculinities of the Global South: Weaponising Fijian, Chilean, and Salvadoran Postcoloniality in the Mercenary Sector." Globalizations 9 (1): 35-52.

Author: Paul Higate


Set against the backdrop of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the private militarised security industry has grown rapidly over the last decade. Its growth into a multi-billion dollar enterprise has attracted the interest of scholars in international relations, legal studies, political science, and security studies who have debated questions of regulation and accountability, alongside the state's control on the monopoly of violence. While these contributions are to be welcomed, the absence of critical sociological approaches to the industry and its predominantly male security contracting workforce has served to occlude the gendered and racialised face of the private security sphere. These dimensions are important since the industry has come increasingly to rely on masculine bodies from the global South in the form of so-called third country and local national men. The involvement of these men is constituted in and through the articulation of historical, neocolonial, neoliberal, and militarising processes. These processes represent the focus of the current article in respect of Fijian and Latin American security contractors. Their trajectories into the industry are considered in respect of both "push" and "pull" factors, the likes of which differ in marked ways for each group. Specifically, states and social groups in Fiji, Chile, and El Salvador are appropriating what is described in the article as an ethnic bargain as one way in which to make a contribution to the global security sector, or "in direct regard to the Latin American context” to banish its more dangerous legacies from the domestic space. In conclusion, it is argued that the use of these contractors by the industry represents a hitherto unacknowledged gendered and racialised instance of the contemporary imperial moment.

Keywords: masculinities, security industry, mercenary, global security sector

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Security Regions: Americas, Central America, South America, Oceania Countries: Chile, El Salvador, Fiji

Year: 2012

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